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7 examples of animal democracy

By: Russell McLendon on Nov. 4, 2012, 5:28 p.m.

Photo: ZUMA Press

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Baboons are monkeys, not apes, but their governing styles still bear some similarities to chimpanzees. Much like in chimp society — where an alpha male is often kept in check by female consensus — dominant male baboons aren't quite dictators. According to primatologists James Else and Phyllis Lee, yellow baboons' group decisions about troop movement may be influenced by any adult, but high-ranking males and females seem to have the final say.

"All adult animals were observed to display orientation and appeared to influence troop choice through it," Else and Lee report in "Primate Ecology and Conservation," adding that "the agreement of the two most influential females and often of the adult male was necessary for other individuals' suggestions to influence group decisions."