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Individual, Selfish Behavior Makes Sheep Flock Together

Sheep are not entirely "group" animals. They can be selfish. Each sheep seeks to get to the middle of the pack. The center of the flock is safest from predators. Individual sheep do not care about those on the outside being taken by wolves, for example.

Flock behavior has been analysed. The group moves forward as individuals move away from the sheepdog to the center of the group. Flocks are not homogeneous. Sheep continue to struggle to get to the center as the flock as a whole moves.

It is now believed that many wild group animals behave in this way. Wildebeests moving away from lions probably act in a similar manner. Pigeons, crabs and seals have been observed acting selfishly. Now the theory is proved.

GPS tracking devices were attached to 46 sheep. Then an Australian Kelpie sheep dog took control of the flock. By monitoring sheep movement every second, the belief became solid fact. Sheep either move in a line from the sheep dog to the center of the flock, scatter, or stay tight to their neighbor. When the sheep were more than 70 meters from the dog they merged into a group, constantly struggling to get to the middle. Apparently, this selfish behavior is an evolutionary imperative, to live to pass on genes. Those on the outside who fall to predators obviously do not behave in the "correct" way.
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