Sneeze Out Your Vote! How Wild Dogs' Democracy Works

Khryss | Published 2017-09-29 05:57

"Achoo!" Dogs: "What did you say"?

Enter the wonderfully weird communication of African wild dogs! Just prepare for the solicited sneezes.

Researchers first wondered how dog in Botswana mark their territories. However, their study took an amazing twist when they noticed an odd habit of these sociable carnivores. “We all started questioning, ‘Why are these dogs sneezing so much?’” study co-author Reena Walker says.

So, they've started focusing on this when examining five packs--each including four to 15 grown or nearly grown dogs. With this, they found that wild dogs' human-like "achoos" (short, sharp burst of air from the nose) usually happens when they do pre-hunting rituals called rally. It actually serves as a democratic vote in the canine world.

Turns out, sneezing “is a form of communication,” says Walker. “The sneeze acts as some kind of signal that shapes decision-making.”

A certain pattern in noticed: when there's enough sneezing at a pack gathering, they're more likely to embark together to hunt. Talk about consensus decisions! "If one of the pack’s top dogs kicked off the rally, it took three sneezes to send the pack in pursuit of a meal, usually antelope. If a low-ranking pack member initiated the rally, it took 10 sneezes to guarantee a hunt," NatGeo reported.

This shows the fascinating complexity of dog's society. It supports the notion that a dog pack “is not really despotic,” Walker says. “There is indeed a more democratic process for daily activities and group decisions.”

Now go stare at your poochie (or other's for that matter) and ask them what else are they capable of. Do it! (Like a creep you are.)

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