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Ungulates

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Jenny
1415037.  Thu Jul 14, 2022 4:17 pm Reply with quote

When we see a herd of cattle or buffalo meandering along, it is not as random a direction as it may seem. The females probably voted on it.

Herbert Prins, a researcher into the habits of African buffalo in Tanzania, noted in 1996 that buffalos tended to stretch a lot - and after a couple of years noticed that this wasn't just a recovery from rest but a form of sign language.

Herbert Prins wrote:
Some buffalo cows arise, shuffle around a bit and bed down again. At first I interpreted this as ‘‘stretching the legs,’’ but one day I noticed that the cows adopt a particular stance after the shuffling and before lying down again. They seem to gaze in one direction and keep their head higher than the normal resting position but lower than the alert. . . . This standing up, gazing and lying down behaviour continues for about an hour, but the overall impression remains that of a herd totally at rest. Then at about 18.00 hours there is a sudden energizing of the herd. . . . A few moments later, everywhere in the herd buffalo start trekking. The exciting thing is that they start trekking, at the beginning independently of each other, in the same direction. Within seconds, the animals that initiate these movements are followed by other individuals, clusters of movement arise, and within about 3–5 minutes the whole herd of hundreds of individuals moves as if conducted by one master. They totally give the impression that they know where they are going to: apparently, some decision has been taken in the group.


So the buffalo were essentially voting, but not all buffalo have the vote. Only the adult females vote, and the males just go along with whatever they decide. There isn't an individual leader, so each day's decision about grazing is determined by the will of the majority on that day.

In 2016, Scientific American reported that European buffalo in the south of France behave in the same way:

Scientific American wrote:
If they want to graze in a meadow, they face the meadow. If they would rather slake their thirst, they turn toward a water hole. Eventually, one bison makes a move. If the initiator advances in the direction preferred by most herd members, the group follows. If the initiator chooses a less popular option, few follow, and the group might split for a brief period. Anyone can initiate a movement, although adult females typically garner the largest number of followers. In essence, the initiator with the most votes wins and ends up leading most of the herd.


As in many democracies, the masses aren't entirely powerless because they can lend their voices (or rather their feet) to a decision, but their decisions are taken anew every day.

Source - "Now I Know"

 
crissdee
1415043.  Fri Jul 15, 2022 3:07 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
the males just go along with whatever they decide.


It is often the easiest option........

 
PDR
1415044.  Fri Jul 15, 2022 3:43 am Reply with quote

It's my experience that women rarely want to hear men's opinions - they just want to hear their own opinions expressed in a deeper voice...

:0)

PDR

 
Jenny
1415062.  Fri Jul 15, 2022 9:08 am Reply with quote

It's always comforting to have one's truth confirmed.

 
PDR
1415063.  Fri Jul 15, 2022 9:25 am Reply with quote

:0)

PDR

 
AlmondFacialBar
1416805.  Wed Aug 17, 2022 8:27 am Reply with quote

Whatever about matriarchal structures in bovines, did you know that cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises, that is) are even-toed ungulates? Going by the currently available evidence, their closest terrestrial relation are the hippos.

Also, up to the late Pleistocene (so we probably ate them) South America had its own set of hoofed animals that were quite likely unrelated to Old World ungulates (not below the level of also being placental at any rate) but nevertheless resembled them to a tee thanks to convergent evolution.

And, while we're at the Americas, both camels and horses evolved in North America, but also went extinct there once we arrived with spears, fire, and starchy side dishes. In contrast to the South American native ungulates, however, they had already achieved a stable holarctic distribution by that point via the Bering Strait land bridge and so the families as such survived.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
tetsabb
1416831.  Thu Aug 18, 2022 3:50 am Reply with quote

At least a herd of female-dominated creatures might stop and ask for directions, if needed...

 
PDR
1416835.  Thu Aug 18, 2022 3:58 am Reply with quote

Perhaps, but they'd never pass that information on to the males. When asked they'd just say "Well if you don't know I'm not going to tell you" and then flounce off...

PDR

 

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