Spotted hyena: so analysed and yet so enigmatic

Link to the image that inspired this bio-insight:


The niche of any species cannot be fully understood except within a framework of cause and effect. Because such a framework has yet to be hypothesised in the case of the spotted hyena, this unique carnivore remains poorly understood despite decades of intensive analysis by several research teams into its hormonal mechanisms. The peculiar sexuality of the spotted hyena – however intriguing – is ultimately just a social corollary of a predatory role which seems as paradoxical today as it did 50 years ago: a combination of collective territoriality and solitary mobility.

Robin and the Honey Badger, 22 March 2016