5 - Social order (animal)

Some animals exist primarily as individuals, never interacting with other individuals except maybe for reproduction or food. Other animals exist not only as individuals but as members of social groups.

Individual behavior is managed by internal controls, instinctual and/or learned.

Group behavior is managed by internal controls operating within the individuals doing the behavior, and by external controls imposed by other individuals (leaders) - or by the group itself (when the group is a complex system).

In invertebrate groups (insect colonies, etc) individuals relate to other individuals according to built-in rules. No leader directs the activities. The group itself does not exercise control over individuals.

Lower-order vertebrate groups also operate according to built-in rules. A school of fish swims this way or that, a flock of birds flies one way or another in response to internal controls possessed by all members of the group. There is no head fish or head bird.

Control is imposed from the outside when relationships between individuals become more complex. Typically in animal groups this control is exercised by a dominant individual. The leader might determine who has sex, who eats when, who grooms whom, etc.

Even a herd/pack/mob/tribe of higher order vertebrates might respond collectively to individual impulses under certain circumstances (wildebeests flee when the lion is spotted; humans run when someone yells, “fire!” )

It does not appear that animal societies rise to level of complex systems, where order emerges from the system itself.

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