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Cooperate Like A Hyena?
October 7, 2009

The spotted hyena lives in groups, hunts in groups, eats in groups.  Biologists think that is why they are experts in cooperation.

So researchers gave hyenas a task that requires cooperation and compared them to other animals.  The researchers watched how hyenas would work together in groups of two or more to complete a task like pulling ropes in order to get food.  Hyenas could do this faster and better than primates — you know, animals like monkeys and gorillas.  In fact, primates needed to be taught how to cooperate.  Hyenas just figured it out on their own — very quickly.

No wonder they are such effective group hunters!

Fun Facts:

  • Hyenas are most closely related to the mongoose and the meerkat family.
  • The hyena walks like a bear because of its much longer front legs.
  • Most people think of the hyena as an evil, yet funny, character because of its haunting laughter-like call.

Source: Duke University (2009, September 29). “Hyenas Cooperate, Problem-solve Better Than Primates.”  ScienceDaily. From http//www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/

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