Democracy, Animal Style


When searching for the best fruit trees, Tonkean macaques decide by majority vote:

When a particular Tonkean macaque wishes to move the group, he or she walks a few steps in the desired direction, pauses, and then turns his or her head back towards the rest of the group. This indicates that the group should move to a new food patch. The other monkeys then decide whether to support the direction suggested, or whether to offer an alternative. If an alternate direction is proposed, each group member votes by joining with his or her favoured candidate. Like the leader himself, they walk a few steps, pause, and then turn their heads back to inspect the rest of the group.

Once the majority of the group has voted, the remaining undecided voters simply side with the majority, walking along but not turning back to monitor the others. Those who opted for the losing recommendation turn around and catch up the group.

They’re the Republicans, one hopes.

(Photo by Christophe Chauvin via Wikimedia Commons)