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Study: Adversity Forges Unlikely Friendship Between Hyenas, Wolves

It is often true in life that adversity makes humans more likely to lean on one another.

That theme of interdependence in hard times apparently holds true in the animal kingdom, according to a new study co-authored by a UT researcher.

Vladimir Dinets, assistant professor of psychology, examined the unlikely friendship between striped hyenas (Hyaena hyaena) and grey wolves (Canis lupus) in the southern Negev, Israel. He suspects that the particularly inhospitable conditions of the extreme desert—and a need for food—might have pushed the two enemies into an unusual alliance.

The study was recently published in the journal Zoology in the Middle East. Dinets co-authored the study with Beniamin Eligulashvili, an Israel-based zoologist.

Dinets noted that humans can learn from the hyena-wolf partnership.

“Animal behavior is often more flexible than described in textbooks,” he said. “When necessary, animals can abandon their usual strategies and learn something completely new and unexpected. It’s a very useful skill for people, too.”

Continue reading at tntoday.utk.edu.