Podcast: How Do Animals Choose Their Leaders?

by Ryan Schleeter

February 2, 2016

Check out episode ten of Completely Optional Knowledge, the podcast that answers questions you never knew you had. Some things in life are #CompletelyOptional — satisfying your curiosity doesn’t have to be one of them.

Lion King

Photo by Ray Morris / Flickr. Creative Commons.

Election season is upon us, and that means choices. Just last night in Iowa, caucusers gave the win to Ted Cruz on the Republican side and Hillary Clinton (by a razor-thin margin) on the Democratic side.

But plenty more voters across the country remain undecided.

If you’re still on the fence about who to vote for, perhaps you’d like to take a cue from the animal kingdom. If so, Completely Optional Knowledge is here to help. Take ants, for example, whose prospective leaders duel with their antennae until the herd selects a queen. Or maybe wolves, who self-organize into family units, are more your style.

Or maybe you’ll just give up and write in this well-dressed little guy.

Cat Suit

Just imagine Putin on the other side of that negotiating table.

However you want to decide, we’ve got biologist Clint Penick, PhD on the podcast to guide us through how strikingly similar animals’ electoral behaviors are to our own. Listen in:

Ask not what your podcast can do for you, but what you can do for your podcast (hint: you can send us a question to be answered on the show).

Want more Completely Optional Knowledge? Have a question you’d like to hear answered on the show? Visit us at completelyoptionalknowledge.org to subscribe! Don’t forget to tune into the conversation on social media using #CompletelyOptional.

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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