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FillsYourNiche OP t1_jdr561s wrote

Science also has an article Wild dogs vote to initiate a hunt by sneezing.

Journal article source Sneeze to leave: African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) use variable quorum thresholds facilitated by sneezes in collective decisions.


>In despotically driven animal societies, one or a few individuals tend to have a disproportionate influence on group decision-making and actions. However, global communication allows each group member to assess the relative strength of preferences for different options among their group-mates. Here, we investigate collective decisions by free-ranging African wild dog packs in Botswana. African wild dogs exhibit dominant-directed group living and take part in stereotyped social rallies: high energy greeting ceremonies that occur before collective movements. Not all rallies result in collective movements, for reasons that are not well understood. We show that the probability of rally success (i.e. group departure) is predicted by a minimum number of audible rapid nasal exhalations (sneezes), within the rally. Moreover, the number of sneezes needed for the group to depart (i.e. the quorum) was reduced whenever dominant individuals initiated rallies, suggesting that dominant participation increases the likelihood of a rally's success, but is not a prerequisite. As such, the ‘will of the group’ may override dominant preferences when the consensus of subordinates is sufficiently great. Our findings illustrate how specific behavioural mechanisms (here, sneezing) allow for negotiation (in effect, voting) that shapes decision-making in a wild, socially complex animal society.

The journal article is open access, so anyone can read the entire thing if they are interested.


fishstock t1_jdscter wrote

My dog sneezes a lot when I pet him or play with him.


littlelordgenius t1_jdsfhke wrote

From what I’ve gathered, that's them acknowledging that they know you’re playing with them, or that they’re having fun. Mine gets belly scratches every morning, and will sometimes sneeze right in my face!


I_Marquosius t1_jdsdcda wrote

The whole article is interesting, but the specific point that got me was that a hunt wasn't always instigated by the alpha and a lower-ranking dog could make the call (even if they required more "votes"). Maybe a successful hunt initiated by that individual could guarantee a step or two up the ranks in a less violent form than battles or intimidation.


New_pollution1086 t1_jdsctbj wrote

Well, that's adorable. I have her domestic dogs sneeze to initiate playtime.


FillsYourNiche OP t1_jdsd3xo wrote

If you prefer video, this New York Times YouTube video also explains the sneeze votes:

PBS Nature also has a video:

Sneezing is pretty common in canids as a form of communication. Our beloved pet dogs also sneeze to communicate with us and each other that they are excited and having fun, that they want to play, or to get attention.


_who_is_they_ t1_jdsq6mu wrote

So basically sneezing is the dog version of "hai" in Japanese.


icandoi t1_jdu5h8t wrote

I live in South Africa and have been fortunate to be able to see the big 5, and most animals in-between.

But wild dogs have always been may favorite.


[deleted] t1_jdsehtc wrote



FillsYourNiche OP t1_jdsf30k wrote

So dogs are not evolved from grey wolves they are sister taxa, they share a common ancestor (Scientific American). African wild dogs also share the same common ancestor.

From the article:

> Analyzing whole genomes of living dogs and wolves, last January's study revealed that today's Fidos are not the descendants of modern gray wolves. Instead the two species are sister taxa, descended from an unknown ancestor that has since gone extinct. “It was such a long-standing view that the gray wolf we know today was around for hundreds of thousands of years and that dogs derived from them,” says Robert Wayne, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We're very surprised that they're not.” Wayne led the first genetic studies proposing the ancestor-descendant relationship between the two species and more recently was one of the 30 co-authors of the latest study, published in PLOS Genetics, that debunked that notion.