Danai Papageorgiou, Dr. rer. nat.
University of Zurich (UZH)
Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Constance
from September 2022 to March 2023
Born in 1992 in Athens
Studied Biology at the University of Patras and at the University of Konstanz
College for Life Sciences
In Situ Responses to the Rise of Inequality in Animal SocietiesMany societies, both human and non-human, show steep social stratification, even where egalitarianism provides everyone with equal resources necessary for survival and reproduction. To maintain equality, egalitarian societies, such as those of !Kung people, often function with “levelling mechanisms” that restrict the emergence of social hierarchies. Generally, active suppressions of the emergence of social stratification in some hunter-gatherer societies include ridicule, collective punishment, and execution. Non-human animals living in groups also experience inequality, with dominant individuals monopolizing access to resources and living a healthier life. However, when the costs of group living outweigh the benefits for many individuals placed low in the dominance hierarchy, a group is expected to split. In the absence of bottom-up control, dominant individuals would be able to disproportionally monopolize resources. However, social dynamics, such as rank reversals, often operate inside non-human animal groups and control the distribution of wealth among group members. During my time at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, I aim to explore behavioral processes that impose checks on inequality and that may be operating across many non-human animal societies and to develop a theoretical framework on how to study and categorize those processes in the wild.
Papageorgiou, Danai, Charlotte Christensen, Gabriella E. C. Gall, James A. Klarevas-Irby, Brendah Nyaguthii, Iain D. Couzin, and Damien R. Farine (2019). “The Multilevel Society of a Small-Brained Bird.” Current Biology 29: R1120–R1121. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.09.072.
Papageorgiou, Danai, and Damien R. Farine (2020). “Group Size and Composition Influence Collective Movement in a Highly Social Terrestrial Bird.” eLife 9: e59902. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.59902.
— (2020). “Shared Decision-Making Allows Subordinates to Lead When Dominants Monopolize Resources.” Science Advances 6: eaba5881. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aba5881.