“If all living things were in one food chain, what would be at the top?” asks Chelsea and Ashli (10)

Thanks team. I found a nice little revision site on food chains that you might like to try, find it at Food Chain Game.

Now to your question. Firstly it might be a little difficult putting all living things into one food chain. Secondly do you think it would be humans?  Ecologists (They are scientists who specialise in studying the living environment) rank species by their diets using a metric*  called the trophic level scale. Plants, which produce their own food, are given a rank of 1. Herbivores, which eat only plants, are ranked 2. The fiercest of meat-loving predators, such as killer whales, are rated at 5.5. Humans are rated at 2.5 which is the same level as a pig.

If you want to make a comment please use the box below or you could ask another question.

* metric as a noun means a standard scale of measurement so you could call a temperature scale a metric or any other standard scale of measurement a metric.

(updated 13/9/17 -changed metric to measurement)
(updated 15/9/17 – ‘measurement’ back to ‘metric’ after realising it was the correct word in the context in which it was presented, added addendum explaining it’s use as a noun)

4 thoughts on ““If all living things were in one food chain, what would be at the top?” asks Chelsea and Ashli (10)

  1. I’m Chelsea, and I asked this question. I’ve been doing some research and I found out that humans are absolutely, definitely not at the top. We’re not even close!
    Thanks science master for this informative answer!

    • Thanks Chelsea. I was surprised and had some arguments with friends about it BUT in reality humans are a group with a great variety of eating habits. It could be argued that we are not ‘natural’ carnivores.

      • Dear Science Master,
        Chelsea’s back in the house! 😂
        What different opinions did your friends have?

        I was also wondering, what do you mean by natural carnivores?

        Thanks again for the answer, Chelsea

        • Chelsea. My friends thought that humans would always be at the top because, basically we could eat everything and be able to kill any animal. The argument that the ecologists would make is that we kill with the aid of tools that other animals have not got access to, so we might be carnivorous but without the tools we would be equivalent to a pig, who does eat meat (mice etc) but like us it is not an essential part of his diet. The polar bear has like all the top carnivores a body that needs only meat to survive it is an ‘Obligate carnivore’ so it’s rightful place is at the top (or near it) of the food chain. I suppose I would apply the term natural carnivore to the Obligate.
          ‘Obligate’ means being restricted to a function (or mode of life)
          Hope this helps …..sorry for it’s length.

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