Speed Reads

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Wild dogs are democratic and they vote by sneezing

Dogs might not have campaign signs, buttons, or televised debates, but packs in Botswana are still democratic. Moreover, they cast their votes by sneezing, researchers at the New South Wales University in Australia Center for Ecosystem Science have discovered.

By studying five different wild dog packs in the Okavango Delta, the researchers found that the canines would first vote on if they wanted to go hunting by sneezing, Quartz reports. "The more sneezes that occurred, the more likely it was that the pack moved off and started hunting," explained researcher Neil Jordan.

Still, not all sneezes were equal. Any adult pack member might initiate an outing with a sneeze, but dominant dogs got the pack moving faster. "We found that when the dominant male and female were involved in the rally, the pack only had to sneeze a few times before they would move off," explains researcher Reena Walker of Brown University, who was also involved in the study. If the dominant pair didn't engage in the group communication, more sneezes — about 10 — were needed before the pack would agree to go hunting. [Quartz]

It's just like Abraham Lincoln once said: The ballot is stronger than the bark.