Questions tagged [sociality]

Communal living, cooperation in care of young, and/or division of labor within animal species.

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40
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1answer
17k views

Why do ants live so long?

I was surprised to learn that worker ants in some species live many years. I would have expected a lifespan of a few weeks or months (which is apparently the case for many species). What factors ...
30
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2answers
1k views

What are the trajectories of flying insects?

Many flying insects tend to have very jagged trajectories. For moves of a fruit fly looks like a random walk. Is there any research on the properties of trajectories (e.g. their fractal dimension or ...
25
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1answer
4k views

Do ants really find the shortest path to a food source?

There exist many computational intelligence algorithms based on the observation that ants deposit pheromones in such a way that they find the shortest path to food sources. This logic is used to ...
19
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2answers
1k views

Are there any animals that celebrate communally?

Are there any animals that are known to celebrate events? For example, we humans might celebrate a birthday or passing an important test. An event causes us to perform some sort of celebration that is ...
12
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2answers
4k views

Do ants really dispose of their own dead, and how/why?

I just read this from Wikipedia's Swarm Behavior article: Despite the lack of centralized decision making, ant colonies exhibit complex behaviour and have even been able to demonstrate the ability ...
10
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2answers
250 views

What is the Edward O. Wilson fuss about?

I have just read this article on E. O. Wilson and I don't understand what the difference is between what he is arguing and "standard" natural selection. I read "the extended phenotype" some years ago ...
9
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3answers
462 views

How does “be altruist to those who are similar to you” evolve?

There are many cases when people commit altruism. One is relationship. I am willing to die for 2 of my children or 8 nieces, say an evolutionary psychologist. Another is reciprocal altruism, which is ...
9
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3answers
6k views

Why are lions the only social cats?

We know that almost all cats are solitary. How did the Lions (Panthera leo) end up social animals? Do we have an explanatory evolutionary path describing how the Lions became social while the rest of ...
9
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3answers
233 views

Intuitive explanation for Kin- and Group- selection

It is known from theoretician in the field of kin selection that kin selection (inclusive fitness theory) and group selection are actually two sides of the same coin. In other words, these two ...
9
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1answer
605 views

Why do ants dig surface paths?

A few days ago I observed a corridor built and used by ants that went over a path in fields: Why do they build it? It seems it doesn't bring any considerable protection from the surrounding ...
8
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1answer
190 views

Could murder be modeled as an infectious disease?

Background "When swine flu hit the population it spiked in certain areas and tapered off in neighboring regions, it hits hardest where people have least protection and this pattern is more ...
8
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1answer
414 views

Start studying mathematical biology from basics

I am really passionate about theoretical and quantitative biology and I would like to build my future career around this topic. I've just got my bachelor's degree in biology (ecology) but scince I've ...
8
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1answer
273 views

Can brain damage caused by physical injury affect the social behaviour of a person?

Can a physical injury to the brain, resulting from an accident, and not the result of a diagnosed mental illness, affect a person's social behavior?
8
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1answer
245 views

Do ant colonies prioritize survival of particular members above others?

In some (perhaps small) human communities people may starve because they have no income. This could be interpreted as a consequence of them not participating in the community, hence they don't get any ...
8
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2answers
237 views

How to name such grouping behaviour?

Under which keyword would you try to find out more about the grouping behaviour which looks like this? Does anybody recognizes such behaviour, or know an animal species which uses it? My tries: ...
8
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1answer
372 views

Cannibalizing behaviour in ants

Today I saw an ant question biology and was reminded of a picture I had clicked 2 years ago. Here, you can see these black guys cannibalizing this other black guy. To reiterate, these guys had ...
7
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3answers
295 views

What mechanisms do animals living in groups (herds, packs, swarms) have against spreading contagious diseases?

While for example a wolf pack provides protection to a sick wolf, increasing its chance of survival, there is a risk of infecting other members of the pack, decreasing their total chance of survival. ...
7
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1answer
381 views

When birds fly in V-formation, how is it decided which bird gets to be the 'lead bird'?

I've read on Wikipedia and in other sources that the lead position alternates due to flight fatigue, but does it alternate between a small cabal of of leadership birds, or does (almost) every bird get ...
6
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3answers
4k views

Polymorphism in cnidarians?

To me, the phenomenon of polymorphism in cnidarians is particularly troubling. I gather that it essentially refers to existence of various different forms or kinds of individuals, i.e. zooids and ...
6
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1answer
247 views

Why social animals attack odd members of their own group?

Some social animals are known for attacking odd members of their own group, for example, chicken: If you have a large group of one type of chicken, they will usually gang up on the one or two ...
6
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2answers
6k views

Can animals like squirrels leave “gifts” or tribute for humans?

I've heard anecdotal reports of squirrels bringing up gifts to a person's house after that person left out food for them. Sounds bizzare and unbelievable, until I actually saw some kind of a nut right ...
6
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1answer
166 views

How much do urban pigeons move around cities?

Do they tend to live their lives in one area of the city or do they move around? For example, do pigeons born on London's Trafalgar Square live their whole lives centered around Trafalgar Square or ...
5
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1answer
918 views

Is greed an evolved trait?

I am not a biologist, but I am fascinated by evolution. I was watching the news this morning and, as so often is the case, there was a news story about a corrupt politician who was accepting bribes....
5
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1answer
114 views

How do bumblebees and hornets avoid the negative effects of inbreeding?

I just learned that all hornets and bumblebees except for the queen die at the end of the year and the queen starts a new nest in spring. But that means the next generation of queens have only ...
5
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3answers
474 views

Why don't fish groom each other?

Fish are often plagued by external parasites, which are presumably difficult for them to remove. There are well known cases where large fish come to coral reefs and allow smaller fish to pick off ...
5
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1answer
248 views

Modern reference for Kropotkin's lazy bees

I have been reading through Peter Kropotkin's Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution and he mentions a curious fact about bees (bolding by me for emphasis): predatory instincts and laziness continue to ...
5
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1answer
117 views

Queller's 1985 version of Hamilton's rule

Queller 1985 ("Kinship, reciprocity and synergism in the evolution of social behavior") provides a generalization of Hamilton's rule that allows for non-additivity. To accomplish that, Queller writes ...
5
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0answers
62 views

Honeybee decision process: new food, new home, new threat [closed]

I have heard that honeybees send out scouts, then based on the scout reports more bees go then come back and report and so they are supposed to be efficient decision makers. Can you give as complete ...
4
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3answers
71 views

Is territoriality only the domain of the male of a species?

Is territoriality (recognizing a geographic location, and challenging another member of the same species and gender) only in the domain of the male of a species? Are there any species out there where ...
4
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2answers
106 views

Do swarms show intelligence?

Can you think of collective and swarm behaviors as "intelligence"? Would such a concept apply to a) ant colonies and b) fish swarms?
4
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1answer
304 views

Assumptions of Hamilton's rule

Which elements of the following list are assumptions of the Hamilton's rule? Population structure (non-panmictic population) Additivity = Fitness of the heterozygote equals the mean of the ...
4
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0answers
37 views

Why is there such a long interval between ages of sexual maturity and of reproduction in female chimpanzees?

There seems to be some disagreement on the ages at which female chimpanzees typically reach sexual maturity and when they typically first give birth, but regardless, different sources seem to agree ...
3
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1answer
379 views

What do you call clearly different sub-groups within a species?

If you look at species of bees and ants, you can clearly see there are drastically different specialized ants, like queen ants and workers. They're both part of the same species, yet are still ...
3
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1answer
84 views

Altruism in viscous (asexual) populations

The viscosity of a population is the tendency of offspring to remain near their place of birth. Taylor 1992 ("Altruism in viscous populations") provides a model to study how viscosity affects the ...
3
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2answers
188 views

Evolution of bee hives

How do the instinct to create a hive appeared in bees? Is there some evidence of "intermediate" hives? With this questions i mean all the factors necessary to build a hive, including the social ...
3
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2answers
5k views

Are humans an eusocial species?

In the evolution of sociality among animals, different degrees are acknowledged. Some species present overlapping generations, some division of labor, and the minority present reproductive division. ...
3
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0answers
23 views

Research papers that demonstrate work done on other species with honey bee pheromones

I found research where Queen mandibular pheromones (QMP) emitted by queen bees were used to find their affects on Drosophila melanogaster. However, I am curious to see if the QMP from bees have been ...
3
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0answers
262 views

Why are some animals so much more intelligent than others? [closed]

From what I found many biologists state that animals living in large social groups (elephants, primates, cetaceans etc.) have a tendency for improved cognitive abilities. Yet at the same time there ...
3
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0answers
179 views

How to understand relatedness in an infinite island model?

My understanding is that the relatedness coefficient in kin selection models measures positive assortment. That is, altruism is more likely to evolve if altruists tend to interact with other altruists....
2
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1answer
75 views

Male Parenting from Evolution point

From evolution point of view can we explain as to why mothers care about child rearing more than fathers? Is it Social phenomenon or genetic phenomenon? Are mothers hard wired to take care of children ...
2
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1answer
29 views

Frogs stop croaking at same time

I know frogs start croaking at the same time to attract a female. Why do they all stop at the same time?
2
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1answer
41 views

A limit to birds affinity for high vantage points [closed]

Birds seem to have a natural affinity for high vantage points, including power wires, the tops of trees, and the sides and tops of buildings. However I presume the top of the Burj Khalifa is not ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

Does sociality evolved before or after the ability of motility?

According to book Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions o Evolution. (Lane, N.;2010), Motility has indeed transformed life on earth in ways that are not immediately apparent, from the ...
2
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1answer
453 views

The concepts of relatedness - Hamilton's rule and kin selection

Here is a quotation from this wikipedia page The relatedness parameter (r) in Hamilton's rule was introduced in 1922 by Sewall Wright as a coefficient of relationship that gives the ...
2
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1answer
263 views

Is there an instinct-driven body language for birds?

Over the last year or so, I've been observing house sparrows, because they are so prevalent in the northeast US cities. I noticed that a lot of sparrows, even in different cities seem to have very ...
2
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0answers
42 views

Will daily sweeped ants eventually learn their path is a dead-end?

An ant colony (likely Lasius niger) made its way through one of our rooms, literally. That is, they enter by a door and leave by the other, and vice versa. Some carry eggs, but in both ways, so I'm ...
2
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0answers
42 views

Honeybee relatedness: workers and nephews

This is my first question on this site. If anyone could help me get to the bottom of it, I would be very grateful. I am currently working on a lecture on kinship in animals. It goes without saying, ...