ANIMAL SOCIAL STRUCTURES & BEHAVIOR

by Justice Odia, Michael Francis and Mohanad Mazin

INTRODUCTION

In society, the most powerful, rich and successful, are usually socially sound. They know how to please people, persuade and virtually get out of or manipulate any situation with the potency of their words. Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Bill Gates and even the infamous Hitler, would have not been able to accomplish what they did if it was not for their eloquence or articulateness. If you are not competent socially, making connections are difficult, which is especially bad in a world, where connections can be the sole factor for you not getting a job over someone else. Same with the animal world, the most cunning and socially dominant animal always has a higher rate of survival

Mini Documentary By Mohanad ↓

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HUMANS

Humans are a good example of a highly social animal. In modern times, people are constantly communicating and socializing mainly because of the rise of social media. This is strongly due to our fundamental desire for social belonging which is something we gained through evolution.

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History of Human Social Behaviour

Human have adapted to live in societies and to cooperate and communicate to accomplish tasks much more efficiently. From these basic yet effective societies, we have evolved into a more social species which has been advantageous to our survival.

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Prehistoric human males would hunt game and then later bring it home to be cleaned and cooked by the females. Although they didn’t have fully developed communities with rulers or leaders early on, through their need for socializing and bonding , they were able to work together.

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Back when the Homo Sapiens were still Homo Habilis, scientists proved that we had a much smaller brain and that the reason we survived and successfully reproduced was because of communication.
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Scientists like Graham Brown and Stephanie Fairfax believed that it would have been impossible that Homo Habilis did not communicate, this is because they constructed tools and went hunting in groups. Homo Erectus was believed to be the first primate to develop language. It was believed that that their speech was slow and clumsy because of their anatomy.
Scientist deduced that from this point on language started advancing at an accelerated rate, and so was the intelligence of the Homo Genus.
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CHIMPANZEE

Chimpanzees live in communities which join together periodically and can reach up to 120 members. They communicate with on another using a variety of body language and sounds. They are able to use over 30 different sounds to communicate with each other. Chimpanzees are capable of learning from each other through observation and imitation.

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ANIMAL STRUCTURES and functions

Humans socialize using language, sounds, gestures and even art. We’ve developed a complex system using our larynx (voice box) to create combinations of sounds which we added meaning to. We even use sounds to communicate emotion such as crying, laughing, screaming and singing. We are also able to communicate through physical movement such as gestures (waving, pointing), facial expressions, and body position.
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Why would a species need to be social?

A main reason can be that social animals have a higher chance of passing on their genes.
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WOLVES

Wolves never travel alone because of the fact that they have a better chance of survival if they stick together in a pack. One wolf cannot intimidate a predator but a pack of wolves can
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A wolf pack follows a social structure where each wolf has its place. The alpha male would be the leader of the pack who is the only one that has mating rights. The alpha female is the mother of the pack who mates with the alpha. The alpha male is often the strongest most dominant male in the pack who has his genetics to thank for his ranking. The alpha male may establish his superiority through physical size, or their personality; most dominant wolves have more belligerent and authoritative personalities. Since the alpha is the only male in the pack allowed to mate, he would pass on his stronger genes to the offspring which in turns betters the species.

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WOLF COMMUNICATIONS

Facial expressions , may express dominant behavior: teeth, ears (pulled back or erect forward).

Tail position: hanging low tucked under legs or erect (erect dominant behavior)

Scent: Wolf’s scent is up to 100,000 times better than a humans. This allows them to urinate to mark territories.

Vocal behaviors: Howls, whines (usually by female adult for

affection at their den), growls, barks

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Another reason is Eusociality

Eusocial species live inside colonies. In eusocial colonies some of the member of the colony cannot reproduce. Instead they take care of the young, find food, or keep guard. This is one of the most complex social structures. An example is ants; ants only have one sterile queen that reproduces a lot of ants. Most of the other ants are unsterile so they do work around the colony including getting food and foraging.
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Let's not forget about reciprocity

Vampire bats, a highly social animal, have been observed reciprocating. When one bat catches his food and another doesn’t it is shown that the one who doesn’t begs for food, and the one who catches it gives, expecting reciprocity.
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CONCLUSION

Evidently, social structures and social behaviors are a crucial factor in an animal survivability and the complexity of the species. The human world would not be the same if we were not able to communicate; it is what separates us from other species. Even though, social competency is not the sole leading factor in a species survival, it is by far a main contributing factor.
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