(GIST OF SCIENCE REPORTER) Do Animals Practice Democracy?

(GIST OF SCIENCE REPORTER) Do Animals Practice Democracy?


Do Animals Practice Democracy?

  • HUMANS have never gotten bored of discovering the truth behind nature and nature too has never failed to astonish us with her creativity and pattern of organization. We like to understand how the human body works. But we also study how other animals work and live – often this takes us a step closer to understanding how we evolved.
  • Honeybees: Honeybees are one of the highest eusocial insects that follow democracy to fix the nesting site or foraging place. Well, talking about honeybees as queens, scouts, and drones may sound like monarchy but in reality, the queen does not have any power to control the hive except to work as an egg-laying machine. The major decisions are taken by the worker bees called scouts. The scouts decide the next nesting station by performing a waggle dance, and the colony follows them. But some bees are stubborn and may head to other sites, as studied by biologist Thomas Seeley of Cornell University, and reported in 2011. Sometimes it may get ugly and such scouts may be head-butted
    by the majority.
  • Red deer: Just like humans, red deer too vote – not by hands but by feet. The red deer live in large herds. Being ruminants, they move to large grasslands to ruminate. Some animals are done before others. But the herd starts to move only when 60% of the population is ready to go.
  • Chimpanzees and bonobos: Chimpanzees and bonobos are the closest relatives of humans sharing more than 96% of the genome. In these animals, the leader or the alpha male is chosen by the females mainly for mating purposes. According to the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relationships, Buffalo, United States, in chimpanzees, if the alpha male does not take the advice of females or lags behind in discharging a responsibility, the females can replace the alpha male with any other rival male. The same pattern is followed in baboons but as per primatologists James Else and Phyllis Lee, the final decisions here are taken by high-ranking males and females.
  • African buffalo: African buffalos also show a similar pattern of democracy as red deer. But here not all adults but only the females decide the direction by standing up in a direction and then lying back down. Biologist David Sloan Wilson mentioned in a study of 1997 that, “Only the female adults vote. They only decide when and where to move irrespective of their social status in the herd.”
  • Pigeons: According to biologists at Oxford University, a complex hierarchical pattern of voting is observed in pigeons. Even the low-ranking birds or non-adults also vote to decide the next destination. But the GPS tracked studies proved that majorly the final decision is taken on a rank basis.
  • Cockroaches: Though cockroaches are not very social creatures, still they showed a stable pattern of balance between cooperation and competition for resources. They are more adapted according to the availability and make the maximum of the opportunities.



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Courtesy: Science Reporter