Birds create a multi-layered society despite the tiny brain

The study, published Monday in the journal Current Biology, shows that loggerhead Guinea fowl — birds, a native of East Africa, as in humans, multi-level society. In the past, scientists hypothesized that such social structures require significant mental abilities. But the brain loggerhead Guinea fowl the size of a pea, so it has become evident that early suggestions of experts were wrong. But what are the principles in this case, the society is built?

The loggerhead group of Guinea fowl is sure that little brain friends

What is multi-level society?

To imagine that such a tiered society, it is best to remember baboons. Baboons is a model for researchers who want to understand the development of human society. Some species of baboons live in groups within groups, is a structure called multi-level society. The same applies to people. Imagine a family that lives in the village: the family can make friends with other families who, in turn, can be connected with neighboring villages etc. In the scientific community for quite some time, there is the hypothesis that life in a complex society is one of the reasons why we have such a big brain. The researchers found evidence of multilevel societies in some other mammals with large brains, such as monkeys, elephants, giraffes and sperm whales.

As birds with a tiny brain built a complex society?

Watching the monkeys, the researchers drew attention to the behavior of loggerhead Guinea fowl and was amazed — these big birds can fly, but seldom do. Instead, they roam in packs, often walking so close to each other that their bodies touch. They can chase each other or fight for the preservation of its strict hierarchy. But sometimes they’re friendly, for example, share food. Their group is unusually large for a birds — sometimes in the same group included 60 individuals. But the most interesting news from the world of science and high technologies you can read on our channel in Yandex.Zen.

Loggerhead Guinea fowl often invade the personal space of each other

The researchers noted that this behavior of the Guinea fowl resembles the behavior of baboons and began an intensive study of society of these birds. For years, scientists observed daily for 441 bird. They just counted 18 groups. The scientists also attached a small GPS device on solar batteries to the back 58 of birds, including one or more in each group. This allowed them to see exactly where you went, each group 24 hours a day for a whole year. They found that group membership was stable. Each group contained several breeding pairs, along with other birds. Groups often met and interacted with each other — in fact, some groups preferred to spend time together. Despite the fact that they lived in the same home range throughout the day, they were looking for each other in the night and slept together. The researchers note that the multilevel society of birds recorded for the first time. But truly amazing is the fact that Guinea fowl not only small brains compared to mammals, they also have quite small brains compared to other birds. By the way, the world is not so strange little birds. For example, singing the loudest birds in the world. Do you like it?

Don’t have to be smart. The ability to recognize friend — everything you need for a comfortable life

Larissa Sudell, an anthropologist from Queens College in new York who studies baboons, told the publication The New York Times, that finds the results convincing. According to Sudell Guinea fowl showed a layered society, which is unusual for a bird with a small brain. The anthropologist is convinced that this is not so surprising phenomenon. The fact that even among primates is not always the most intelligent species have a tiered society. Life in this kind of society may actually facilitate the tracing of the social order. For example, if the group is stable and a bird or baboon can read only one or two individuals in the group — there is no need of brain, is able to recognize each individual animal. Turns out, multi-level society does not require a large brain and a strong mind. A bit of a surprise as you think? To discuss this amazing news with members of our Telegram chat.

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