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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 4/4/2006 11:39:33 AM EDT


dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20060327/cockroach_ani.html

Cockroaches Make Group Decisions

By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News


March 30, 2006 — Cockroaches govern themselves in a very simple democracy where each insect has equal standing and group consultations precede decisions that affect the entire group, indicates a new study.

The research determined that cockroach decision-making follows a predictable pattern that could explain group dynamics of other insects and animals, such as ants, spiders, fish and even cows.

Cockroaches, Blattella germanica, are silent creatures, save perhaps for the sound of them scurrying over a countertop. They therefore must communicate without vocalizing.

"Cockroaches use chemical and tactile communication with each other," said José Halloy, who co-authored the research, which is outlined in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "They can also use vision."

Halloy, a scientist in the Department of Social Ecology at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium, added, "When they encounter each other they recognize if they belong to the same colony thanks to their antennas that are 'nooses,' that is, sophisticated olfactory organs that are very sensitive."

Halloy tested cockroach group behavior by placing the insects in a dish that contained three shelters. The test was to see how the cockroaches would divide themselves into the shelters.

After much "consultation," through antenna probing, touching and more, the cockroaches divided themselves up perfectly within the shelters. For example, if 50 insects were placed in a dish with three shelters, each with a capacity for 40 bugs, 25 roaches huddled together in the first shelter, 25 gathered in the second shelter, and the third was left vacant.

When the researchers altered this setup so that it had three shelters with a capacity for more than 50 insects, all of the cockroaches moved into the first "house."

Halloy and his colleagues found that a balance existed between cooperation and competition for resources.

He explained to Discovery News, "Cockroaches are gregarious insects (that) benefit from living in groups. It increases their reproductive opportunities, (promotes) sharing of resources like shelter or food, prevents desiccation by aggregating more in dry environments, etc. So what we show is that these behavioral models allow them to optimize group size."

The models are so predictable that they could explain other insect and animal group behaviors, such as how some fish and bugs divide themselves up so neatly into subgroups, and how certain herding animals make simple decisions that do not involve leadership.

David Sumpter, an Oxford University zoologist, told Discovery News that the new study "is an excellent paper."
Sumpter continued, "It is important because it looks both at the mechanisms underlying decision-making by animals and how those mechanisms produce a distribution of animals amongst resource sites that optimizes their individual fitness. Much previous research has concentrated on either mechanisms or optimality at the expense of the other."

For cockroaches, it seems, cooperation comes naturally.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 11:40:43 AM EDT
thought it said cockroaches make soup decisions
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 11:41:43 AM EDT
so, cockroaches = democrats?
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 11:43:38 AM EDT
Interesting, but I see nothing in the findings that justifies the conclusion that "cockroaches govern themselves in a very simple democracy where each insect has equal standing and group consultations precede decisions that affect the entire group."
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 11:44:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Mall-Ninja:
so, cockroaches = democrats?





That was my instant first thought too when I saw the title.

Link Posted: 4/4/2006 11:46:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 11:48:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Airwolf:

Originally Posted By Mall-Ninja:
so, cockroaches = democrats?





That was my instant first thought too when I saw the title.





OMG- I was going to say that too. Spooky. I'm being assimilated.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 11:51:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JohnTheTexican:
Interesting, but I see nothing in the findings that justifies the conclusion that "cockroaches govern themselves in a very simple democracy where each insect has equal standing and group consultations precede decisions that affect the entire group."



No shit. Complete anthropomorphic fantasy.

More likely - through selective survival and breeding, cockroaches have (over time and many generations) developed heuristics adapted to maximize utility in resource allocation. The optimization behavior is compeltely consistent with the improved survival chances of colonies that have a mutation that supports such an adaptation.

Either way, it's clearly not a "cognitive" thing, or anything to do with "standing" or "consultations"
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 11:54:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JohnTheTexican:
Interesting, but I see nothing in the findings that justifies the conclusion that "cockroaches govern themselves in a very simple democracy where each insect has equal standing and group consultations precede decisions that affect the entire group."



I thought we were an autonomous collective.

You're fooling your self. We are living in a dictatorship.

Look the right to govern is derived from a mandate from the masses not some ..........
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 12:03:58 PM EDT
It is another case of an idiot reporter and idiot woman not knowing what she's talking about, most likely. The fact that they divided into two equal groups shows some sort of interesting order in their behavioral mechanisms...maybe. They don't say how many "more than 50 insects" the new shelter could hold. I'd like to see the published results. It might just be some overcrowding mechanism and shoddy experimental procedures, or it could be some kind of group structure.

It certainly isn't any kind of "thinking" or "democracy". That is just stupid to even say.

I'm interested in weird stuff as I become more and more senile. How bugs interact as groups is one of them. There are a species of ants in South America that do this same sort of thing. The ants here in the US bite the instant the first one gets on your skin. In South America, you can let certain types of ants crawl on your arm and they won't bite until they know that enough are on you to do some damage. They will just swarm on you until they know...somehow...that enough are on you, then they all bite at the same time.

The ant thing is more interesting than the roach thing. That implies some sort of hunting instinct and global communication system. The roach thing is just shoddy reporting. What would be more interesting is to see how the roaches filled the shelters, instead of just the end result.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 12:15:17 PM EDT
Damnit, I was going to make a joke about used car salesmen or lawyers ganging up on a mark, but somebody already beat me to it with a Democrat joke.

Kharn
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 12:28:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Originally Posted By JohnTheTexican:
Interesting, but I see nothing in the findings that justifies the conclusion that "cockroaches govern themselves in a very simple democracy where each insect has equal standing and group consultations precede decisions that affect the entire group."



No shit. Complete anthropomorphic fantasy.

More likely - through selective survival and breeding, cockroaches have (over time and many generations) developed heuristics adapted to maximize utility in resource allocation. The optimization behavior is compeltely consistent with the improved survival chances of colonies that have a mutation that supports such an adaptation.

Either way, it's clearly not a "cognitive" thing, or anything to do with "standing" or "consultations"




That's not it at all. Those f*ckin' cockaroaches do whatever Tony Montana tells 'em to do.
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 12:35:29 PM EDT
I thought this was going to be another immigration thread...
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