People and birds hunting for honey together

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    For ages people have trained dogs, birds, horses, and other creatures to help us out in various ways.
    A tribe of humans in southeast Africa forage for honey together with a species of bird, calling to each other with chirps and yelps. The birds lead the way to hidden beehives, which are camouflaged among high tree branches. The tribesmen crack open the hives and share the sweet spoils of victory with their bird friends.
    A trio of zoologists led by Claire Spottiswoode, an African bird researcher at the University of Cambridge in the UK, has just documented this astounding relationship. The particular players are Yao tribesmen in Mozambique and wild local birds called honeyguides (or Indicator indicator—pretty cool name, huh?). As the zoologists describe in a paper published today in the journal Science, the communication and cooperation goes both ways. When the birds spy a beehive on their own, they can find a nearby human, get his or her attention with a signature chirp, then flit from tree to tree toward the hive. Yao tribesmen can solicit the help of nearby honeyguides with their own unique hail, a birdcall handed down through countless generations.

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