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When wild animals help people – Knowledge

When wild animals help people – Knowledge

When the Yao people of Mozambique want something sweet, they don’t buy a chocolate bar or a jelly candy. They attract the honey index. The brown and white bird, about twenty centimeters long, leads them to a nest of wild bees, where Yao harvests sweet honey. Birds do not do this out of love for humans, but rather benefit from this cooperation: by collecting honey, people give them access to the bees’ nest, which is often well protected in the hollow of the tree. Alone, honey hunters, who don’t like honey at all, will never be able to get their hands on their favorite food: beeswax and bee larvae.

Honey hunter Carvalho Isa Nanguar opens a bee’s nest with an axe. The smoke is supposed to repel bees.

(Photo: Claire Spottiswoode)

A study is currently in Science magazine Sciences He showed upHe has now shown that this extraordinary cooperation between birds and humans may have arisen through a special kind of evolution in which both species influenced and learned from each other. Biologists talk about “cultural coevolution.”

To find out, the researchers used the phenomenon that people came up with the idea of ​​working with honey indicators not only in Mozambique, but also in other African countries. However, there are significant differences in the way birds are attracted. The Yao people of Mozambique make a kind of grunt that sounds like “Brrr…hmm”. On the other hand, the Hadza in Tanzania whistle to attract the attention of honey pointers.

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In her experiment, ornithologist Claire Spotswood from the University of Cambridge walked with anthropologist Brian Wood from the University of California through the Kedero Hills in Tanzania, where the Hadza live. During their tour, the researchers played the Hadza whistle, the yau call, and recordings of people calling each other by name on honeycomb indicators and observed the birds’ reactions. They repeated the same thing in the Niassa Special Reserve, a large nature reserve in Mozambique where the Yao people live.

Animals: Honeycatcher Celiano Rokonoa holds a female honey index in the Niassa Game Reserve, Mozambique.

Honey hunter Celiano Rukunwa holds a female honey index in the Niassa Game Reserve, Mozambique.

(Photo: Claire Spotswood/AFP)

The birds’ reactions were very diverse. In Tanzania, honey monitors flocked three times more when they heard the familiar Hadza whistle than when they heard the Yao chirp. The shouts of people calling each other’s names were an act of control. The birds did not respond to her any more than they responded to Yao’s call. In Mozambique it was just the opposite: Yao’s “Brrrr… hmm” attracted birds there twice as effectively as a Hadza whistle or control sounds.

The most likely explanation for this is that “birds learn to respond to signals from their local partners,” says Claire Spottiswoode in a statement from the University of Cambridge. According to the researchers, this is also supported by the fact that the genome of honey ticks in Mozambique does not differ in any way from the genome of birds in Tanzania. Different preferences for certain sounds cannot be inherited.

Animals: Beeswax is intended for beneficial birds.

The wax from the honeycomb is intended for beneficial birds.

(Photo: Claire Spottiswoode)

In fact, it’s like people communicating with each other in different languages, Spotswood says. “People in different regions of Africa communicate honey signs using different local sounds.”

It is very rare for wild animals to cooperate with humans. Another example is dolphins, Who help fishermen in the city of Laguna in southern Brazil catch mullet. Dolphins gather fish together and then indicate to fishermen where to cast their nets. What do animals get out of it? This is still not clear. However, it has been shown that dolphins that cooperate have a 13 percent higher survival rate than dolphins that do not cooperate with humans.

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