🔎Facty Friday Edition #100: Social Animals

This 100th(!) edition of Facty Friday also marks its 2 year anniversary! To celebrate, this edition of Facty Friday looks around the animal kingdom to determine what we can learn from the social and political behavior of animals.


Honeybees make decisions democratically

In the seminal book Honeybee Democracy, researchers described how groups of bees make their most consequential decision: the location of their hive. Researchers made a surprising discovery: honeybees vote for their hive location. Not only that, but honeybees go on fact-finding missions, debate possible hive locations, and build consensus for their collective decision. This research shows that effective decision-making in any species consists of shared interests, diverse input, and respectful debate.

Fish engage in cooperative economic behavior

Not only do animals display the characteristics of political systems, they also engage in cooperative economic behavior. One example is the cleaner fish, which cleans other fish by eating their parasites and dead scales. They even clean the teeth of predator fish, who do not eat cleaners while they are working. Cleaner fish function much like a business: they provide higher quality cleanings to fish that have alternative cleaning options, enticing them to return. And if a cleaner fish provides bad service to a client, it remembers and provides good service to that client the next time. This research reminds us that cooperative, mutually beneficial relationships are the norm for human and non-human interactions.


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