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Wild dogs sneeze when it's time to hunt, scientists say

'Choo!' appears to be African animals' 'I'm in!'

Hunting time: It's something to sneeze at for on-the-prowl African wild dogs, scientists say.

Scientists reported this week that the animals sneeze to show the group they're ready for action, The New York Times reported. The more sneezes, which sound more like a "choo" than an "achoo," the more likely the dogs will actually get a move on.

Nearly all social organisms reach a consensus in group decisions, the Times reported. Meerkats call to each other when they want to roll out, gorillas grunt and honeybees make a piping noise.

But the sneeze signal is a first, according to a group of American, British and Australian researchers who published their observations of the dogs in Botswana in "Proceedings of the Royal Society B," the Times reported.

The wild dogs sleep a lot, the scientists said. But then, packs sometimes rally, and the more successful calls to action include sneezing -- and lots of it.

It's unclear whether the sneeze is intentional or if it just happens, the Times reported. But the scientists were sure: Sneezes mean the wild dogs are going to move soon. 

 


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