Baboons Killing It at Democracy

We could stand to learn something from our primate friends.


If the promised simian uprising ever does happen, take comfort in knowing that at least it will be a government of the baboon, for the baboon, and by the baboon.

Phys reports researchers have discovered that while baboons do live in hierarchical groups, the important decisions aren’t sent down by some alpha male, but instead established through democratic consensus. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell discovered the stealth baboon government after monitoring the animals with GPS devices. The monitoring let them see how the group made decisions in their movements. If opinion is split, undecided baboons follow the majority instead of throwing a fit or obstructing the route or trying to buy each other off with bushles of roots and bark. The dominant baboon’s preference makes no difference.

Baboons may actually be better at democracy than we are.

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