Destination: Utopia

Watch: This animal society runs like a utopia

Mongooses can teach us a thing or two about living in harmony.

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If our track record is any indication, we humans probably won’t live to see a successful utopian society.

Banded mongooses are at least one step closer to that future than we are.

These furry little mammals that live across Africa might hold the key to building a society where everyone thrives.

Harry Marshall

Harry Marshall

It starts from the very beginning when mongooses are born.

Mother mongooses all give birth at the same time — which means they lose track of which babies are theirs.

Harry Marshall

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Normally in the wild, parents favor their young.

But synchronized births lead mongooses to collectively care for all the young in their pack, regardless of who birthed them.

A paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications tested if mongooses are able to distribute resources fairly since mothers have no familial preference among the young.

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The researchers gave more food to one group of mother mongooses while they were still pregnant.

Harry Marshall

Meanwhile, the group that was fed less gave birth to babies that were smaller and weighed less than others, due to their lack of nutrition during pregnancy.

But the pack of mongooses didn’t hang the smaller babies out to dry. Instead, they took turns feeding those younglings until they became bigger and healthier.

Harry Marshall

“This ignorance leads to a fairer allocation of resources — in effect, a fairer society.”

Dr. Harry Marshall, study author

Harry Marshall

That desire to care for those who need help most could create a fairer human society, too.

Read more stories about animals here.

Harry Marshall