Monday, June 25, 2007

Lion's Hunger

Here goes yet another puzzle, not as good as the one with the thieves.


In a zoo far far away ( I am being a little dramatic, eh? :D ), there was a cage filled with n lions. One day the care taker of the zoo put in only one huge meat loaf in the cage. If any lion eats the meat, he will feel dizzy and will fall asleep. Now, that the lion has fallen asleep, he would serve as meat for other lions. Also, assume hypothetically that all lions are intelligent, so none of them would want to get killed.

If you are one of the lion and given an option to eat the meat, would you go for it??


Like many of the interesting problem in mathematics, this can be solved using the principle of mathematical induction.

If you are the only lion in the cage, you can go ahead and have your food.

If two lions are there, none of them would eat. why?? Because, if any one of them eat the meat then he is going to be killed by the other lion.

What if three lions are there? you know that if you eat the meat, you will fall asleep. Though you will be as good as meat for other two lions during your slumber, none of them would eat you for the reason stated above.

It is easy to generalize and see that you can have your meal if odd number of lions (including yourself ) are in the cage. For the case of even number of lions, it is better to stay hungry :p.

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