Wild Dogs Sneeze to Vote

Wild Dogs Sneeze to Vote

Contributed by Jennifer Best

A new study was published this week on the complex behaviors and decision-making process of wild dogs in Botswana. The study observed audible, rapid nasal exhalations (sneezes) among a group of wild dogs and found that the probability of rally success (i.e. group departure) is predicted by a minimum number of sneezes. It also found that whenever dominant individuals initiated rallies then less sneezes were needed for the group to depart.

This study sheds light on the complex behavior and interactions of these wild dogs. Wildlife are often discussed as mere population numbers. However, that is obviously an incomplete view that ignores the capabilities of nonhuman animals. This study shows the importance and complexity of social interaction among the group and indicates that what humans do to even one individual could disrupt this process. Read the story here.