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Claim: Predators drive social complexity

cichlid attacks predator/Michael Taborsky, University of Bern

From ScienceDaily:

Sociality is a ubiquitous feature of life, but the reasons why animals cluster together can vary. In nature, there is great diversity in social organization and in the complexity of interactions among group members. It is widely accepted that high predation risk may select for group living, but predation is not regarded as an important driver of social complexity.

This view neglects the important effect of predation on dispersal and offspring survival, which may require cooperation among group members. The significance of predation for the evolution of social complexity can be well illustrated by behavioural and morphological adaptations of highly social animals showing division of labour, such as ants and cooperatively breeding fishes like cichlids. More. Paper. (paywall) – Frank Groenewoud, Joachim Gerhard Frommen, Dario Josi, Hirokazu Tanaka, Arne Jungwirth, Michael Taborsky. Predation risk drives social complexity in cooperative breeders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201524178 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1524178113

Is it possible these people spend too much time with cichlid fish? Masses of factors drive social complexity in different life forms because of the sheer variety of lives they must lead and the relative risks of predation. Still, interesting.

See also: Furry, feathery, and finny animals speak their minds

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