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Pecking order is the phenomenon that dominating individual usually eat first. It is commonly observed in animals. In animals, it is often due to the fact that the strong individual won the fights for eating first, or is able to win those fights in future.

This is what I used to learn: "a pecking order is about access to resources decided before the access as the result of a competition, not just straight competition". For example, the order of food-feeding in bird is sometimes decided by brightness of feathers, without any direct competition (fight) for the food.

However, many other sources equate pecking order with dominance hierarchy, or the metabolic evolutionary pressure, namingly some individuals have an evolutionary advantage over others, making them more fit to survive .

For example, bacteria can has dominance hierarchy (a.k.a pecking order). Supporting literature include this.

See also history of "pecking order", pecking order of plants, and another article on dominance hierarchy.

I am not sure if my understanding is correct and if this viewpoint is universally accepted -- is there a consensus on the definition of pecking order?



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    $\begingroup$ @bob1 How does this look like a homework? I get your point. I used to have the same viewpoint as yours but later I found that "pecking order" is equivalent to "dominance hierarchy" according to Wikipedia. I don't know who to trust. If you have one or two reliable reference I'll be appreciated! $\endgroup$
    – High GPA
    Mar 14, 2022 at 5:40
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    $\begingroup$ It looks like homework because of these sections of the homework part in the help: "A question that addresses a basic biology concept that may seem trivial to biology professionals" and "Include details of how you have attempted to form a solution. We will not do your homework assignments for you but we will point you in the right direction if you have made the effort to research the topic first." $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Mar 14, 2022 at 7:13
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    $\begingroup$ My apologies I mis-read and looked at the citing paper, my Norwegian being somewhat lacking. However, I believe that the publication should be this one from 1921: Beiträge zur Biologie und Sozial- und Individualpsychologie bei Gallus domesticus (Contributions to the biology and social and individual psychology in Gallus domesticus) . Hønsenes stemme. Bidrag til hønsenes psykologi translates to "The voice of the chickens. Contribution to the psychology of chickens", which doesn't quite look right. However, I haven't been able to view the originals. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Mar 15, 2022 at 9:19
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    $\begingroup$ "Earliest" is a bit problematic; all species on Earth have been evolving for the exact same amount of time. In terms of generations, complex eukaryotes with long life spans have been evolving for a shorter time than many single-celled organisms. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 15, 2022 at 21:59
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    $\begingroup$ @HighGPA Well unless you expect to find this from the fossil record, the issue is that "earlier" things like Sumerian don't exist any more to be observed. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 17, 2022 at 13:38

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