Study: Cows Excel At Selecting Leaders
By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News
Recent studies on leadership in cows and other grazing herbivores suggest that intelligence, inquisitiveness, confidence, experience and good social skills help to determine which animals will become leaders within herds.
The findings suggest that, at least among these animals, individuals are not necessarily "born leaders," and that bullying, selfishness, size and strength are not recognized as suitable leadership qualities.
"The fact that in groups of animals of different age, leaders are amongst the oldest animals suggests that it's not innate, but the result of previous experience," said Bertrand Dumont, lead author of a recent Applied Animal Behavior Science paper on leadership in a group of grazing heifers.
Dumont is a researcher at INRA, the national institute of agricultural research in Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France.
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