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Baboons May Be Better at Democracy than Humans

posted: 06/19/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Olive baboons in Kenya
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Baboon troops are surprisingly democratic, according to a new study. Researchers used small collars outfitted with high-resolution GPS trackers to closely follow a troop of 25 olive baboons in Kenya's Mpala Research Center.

"We can closely examine how they are responding to one another," explained study co-author Meg Crofoot. "These technological advances are giving us unprecedented windows into the lives of group-living of animals."

According to Crofoot's research, alpha males weren't solely responsible for decision-making within the stratified baboon troop. Rather, shared decision-making resulted in collective choices being made by baboons of all different social standings. When conflicts arose, the baboons compromised until a decision could be reached.

"Our results illustrate an important distinction between social status and leadership, and show that democratic decision-making takes place even in highly stratified societies," added Crofoot.

Click here to read Crofoot's research in the journal Science

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