Virtual ranking in the spotted hyena



Crocuta crocuta photo © David W. Siu


Political complexity in the spotted hyena is comparable with that in baboons. However, unlike baboons, the spotted hyena cannot directly observe most interactions among individuals because no clan ever fully assembles. Instead this carnivore performs the mental feat of piecing together the hierarchical structure of its clan from olfactory clues scattered in time, making its experience of its society more virtual than real.
Robin and the Honey Badger, 22 March 2016
Spotted hyena clan
Boboon troop