There are those who vote by show of hands and some by … sneezing. The packs of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), wild canids from the hypercarnivorous diet, make group decisions in a democratic way, moreover expressing their opinion loudly. When a good number of specimens in the group sneeze, it means that it is time to stop resting and go hunting, as a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows.
A group of biologists from the Center for Ecosystem Science (University of New South Wales, Australia), noticed the singular form of reaching the quorum while studying the gatherings that the canines face to force each other before going hunting for prey. Shortly before these ceremonies, the rate of sneezing between wild dogs undergoes a surge.Curiosity: breathtaking battles between prey and predators. |
If the leader says … So far it was thought that sneezing simply served to clear the airways of animals, but by studying the behavior more closely, scientists discovered that the reason is more interesting: the greater the number of sneezing, the higher the probability that the pack leaves for hunting. If the dominant wild dogs sneeze, then it takes only a small number of other sneezes to go. If the alpha male does not express himself, instead, a broader consensus is needed, demonstrating that, if desired, one can oppose the decisions of the leader.
Nothing to fear. The observations were made on 68 social gatherings of 5 packs of wild dogs in the Okavango River Delta, Botswana. The sneezes are similar to the warning signs launched by other canids, but in the case of the "votes", the specimens seemed relaxed, and the other animals also did not seem scared.Why do dogs smell their ass?
Other forms of democratic voting have been documented among meerkats, bees, mountain gorillas and capuchin cebus. However, sneezing could also be a physiological response to a decision already made in another way: the rapid exhalation of air is a way to prepare the nostrils to sniff more finely and breathe better during the pursuit of the prey.