Research Journal of Zoology

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Studying the Principles of Collective Animal Behavior has Relevance to Humans

Collective animal behavior is a form of social behavior involving the coordinated behavior of large groups of similar animals as well as emergent properties of these groups. This can include the costs and benefits of group membership, the transfer of information, decision-making process, locomotion and synchronization of the group. Studying the principles of collective animal behavior has relevance to human engineering problems through the philosophy of biomimetics. For instance, determining the rules by which an individual animal navigates relative to its neighbors in a group can lead to advances in the deployment and control of groups of swimming or flying micro-robots such as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). The basis of collective animal behaviour originated from the study of collective phenomena; that is, repeated interactions among individuals that produce large scale patterns. The foundation of collective phenomena originates from the idea that collective systems can be understood from a set of techniques. For example, Nicolis and Prigogine (1977) employed the use of non-linear thermodynamics to help explain similarities between collective systems at different scales. Other studies aim to use physics, mathematics and chemistry to provide frameworks to study collective phenomena. Many functions of animal aggregations have been proposed. These proposed functions may be grouped into the four following categories: social and genetic, anti-predator, enhanced foraging, and increased locomotion efficiency.

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