Contrary to Orwell, Democracy Rules on the Big Animal Farm
When red deer stand up and honeybees dance, they are not simply stretching their legs or indicating where the nectar is, according to a new study. As bizarre as it may seem, they are voting on whether to move to greener pastures or richer flowers.
... no one deer or bee or buffalo decides when the group moves. If democracy means that actions are taken based not on a ruler's preference, but the preferences of a majority, then animals have democracy.
Not surprisingly, decisions based on majority preferences tend to fit in with what most individuals in the group want. But, the researchers say, this is not a mere tautology. An analysis based on some hefty mathematical models that they developed shows that democracy in groups of animals can have a tangible survival edge over despotism.