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Moos’ Blog


Bio­di­ver­sity Counts!
Obser­va­tions and opin­ions con­cern­ing zoos, evo­lu­tion, nature con­ser­va­tion and the way we treat/​support the ecosys­tems which are sup­posed to serve us.

201224Jul10:41

Self­ish herd the­ory is absolutely true

Infor­ma­tion
pub­lished 24 July 2012 | mod­i­fied 18 Decem­ber 2016

Ani­mals that herd together have a good rea­son to do so, it low­ers every sin­gle individual’s chance of being attacked or in the worst case being eaten by a preda­tor. Until recently this was just a the­ory, but now this hypoth­e­sis has been proven right. Researchers strapped GPS-​enabled back­packs to flock­ing sheep and a herd­ing dog, after which they tracked the move­ments of the sheep herd­ing together while being pur­sued by the ever so fierce dog.

sheep flock gpsThe data of the footage sug­gests, that is ‘sci­ence lan­guage’ for proves, that all indi­vid­ual sheep move towards the cen­tre of the flock and away from the fero­cious preda­tor, the dog. As a result the whole flock moves away from the attacker. It turned out though, that some sheep are pro­tected above aver­age dur­ing the process. Whether or not this is mere luck or abil­ity the researchers tried to sort out by test­ing the sheep indi­vid­u­ally on phys­i­cal and men­tal fit­ness. Most prob­a­bly it will show that all sheep are equal but some are more equal.

It is not fair to make fun of good research, but after see­ing the pic­ture I just couldn’t resist. But the researchers really deserve credit for the work done and this is inter­est­ing research, seriously.

More infor­ma­tion here and in the July 24th, 2012, issue of Cur­rent Biol­ogy, a Cell Press pub­li­ca­tion where the find­ings appeared.


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