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African Wild Dogs Sneeze When Ready to Move African Wild Dogs Sneeze When Ready to Move

African Wild Dogs Sneeze When Ready to Move

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In the wild, animals have a way of signaling each other that it’s time to move. Most do this through vocalizing a sound, whether it’s a grunt or a call. But for African wild dogs, the signal to move as a group is a sneeze. It’s a fact that has fascinated scientists.

Known as “casting a vote,” this signaling behavior has long been documented, but scientists say this is the first time that sneezing has been observed as the trigger. For African wild dogs, this means that multiple sneezes occur in a short timeframe. Researchers found that the more sneezes among a group of wild dogs, the more likely the group will be to start moving. This is the same behavior exhibited in other species with their vote casting. Meerkats, monkeys, and other creatures try to reach a consensus before moving. This consensus is called a quorum.

This type of behavior isn’t limited to mammals, though. In fact, scientists have observed a similar voting behavior in some types of bacteria.

While watching the animals, scientists noticed that they tended to sleep quite a bit. Yet when one wild dog was ready to move, that pack member would start what researchers call a “rally,” which is an attempt to get the other pack members excited about going. The team noticed that in some cases, the dogs would simply fall back to sleep. But when a rally was successful, it generally involved more sneezing than in unsuccessful rallies.

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Read 1307 times Last modified on Monday, 25 September 2017 05:14
Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and novelist whose work has appeared on,, the Intuit Small Business Blog, and many others. She is the Simon & Schuster author of 8 children's books, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series, 25 Roses, and 30 Days of No Gossip.

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