Whether to win food, to claim or hold a plot of territory, to capture a
mate--fighting is accepted practice in the wild.
Deciding whether to fight or flee depends on costs and rewards. Animals
assess their own abilities against the potential damage of teeth, hooves and
horns on the opponent. Then they fight with intensity proportioned to what
they stand to gain or lose.
All disutes do not have to end in violence, however. Ritualized encounters
are common in nature, with a resolution achieved by signals and the only
TRIALS OF LIFE
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