How transfer of power occurs among different animal groups?

Animals that live in groups usually possess a leader who leads them through various hurdles, but what happens when the leaders die? How transfer of power occurs? Here we are gonna take a sneak peek at what happens to answer our questions.

Brute force

In the families of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom chimpanzees, acquiring the position of the alpha male is a brutal affair. In chimps, it is a matter of individuals bullying their way to the top of the hierarchy and getting what they want to be, said Michael Wilson, an associate professor in the departments of anthropology and ecology, evolution, and behavior at the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul. He also added when he worked in Gombe national park; he observed a male chimp called Frodo. Frodo was a fearsome, aggressive alpha male who was able to maintain power by being and mean. These chimps also need political support from other males to survive, and this was taken care of by his brother Freud who used to spend time socializing and grooming other male members of the family. In this way, Frodo received support to keep himself in power. But this usually doesn’t last very long, an alpha male can Hold the position only for 3-5 years, and by this time, young chimps tend to challenge the older alpha males and take their position. Most males reach their peak by the 20s, which is the usual age for them to lead their groups. At times, these challenging encounters can be brutal and also lead to the death of the older alpha males. Scientists add that sometimes defeated alpha males feel difficult to accept the situation and go depressed for days or don’t eat. 

Generation game

In hyenas, which are usually dominated by a female leader, the power, the transfer occurs via a set of conduct. If the group leader’s mother dies, the youngest daughter replaces her position to become the new head of the group. When conflicts emerge, the hyenas enlarge their pseudo penises to resolve conflicts. Meanwhile, on the reefs of the ocean, clownfish are lead by the largest female in the group. If the female dies, an interesting thing happens wherein the largest male converts itself into a new breeding female and lead the group. This is written in their gene code, and this transition is irreversible. 

The bee wrestling

In insects like bumblebees, wasps, and ants, the Queen usually leads the group, and if the Queen does, the colony dies with her said Francis Ratnieks, a professor at the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects at the University of Sussex in Brighton, United Kingdom. In the bumblebee colony, which usually lasts a summer, the colony usually dies with the Queen, but on the other hand, some ant colonies can last up to 20 years. In the case of honeybees, there is usually one Queen when they get old or frail the colony rears a new young queen who lays the egg. But sometimes the old Queen can go away with a swarm of bees and can form a new colony elsewhere. This usually leaves some old colonies with no queen if they have queens who are in egg or pupa. Usually, in this case, there will be multiple queen pupa or eggs, and the first one to reach the adult will kill other queen eggs and larvae.

Leaders always don’t have the power

In the case of vulturine guinea fowls, the decision stands by the majority of the individuals rather than some of the dominant individuals. For example, if a dominant group of individuals gets a patch of the area with rich food, the other members of the group who are subordinates will pressure all the individuals to move the dominant individuals to other areas so that all individuals get an equal share of their food. This is how the dynamics of dominance works vulturine guinea fowl. 

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Source: CNN

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