Social studies of Facebook and Twitter have been adapted to gain a greater understanding of the swarming behaviour of locusts. The enormous success of social networking sites has vividly illustrated the importance of networking for humans; however for some animals, keeping informed about others of their kind is even more important.
In a study published on July 15, 2011, in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society’s New Journal of Physics, researchers have shown that swarming, a phenomenon that can be crucial to an animal’s survival, is created by the same kind of social networks that humans adopt.
Since the 1980s, scientists have been programming computer models to realistically reproduce flocks of birds, schools of fish, herds of quadrupeds and swarms of insects. However, the question of how these groups coordinate to move together has remained a mystery.
It remains more of a mystery when each organism can only see a small area around them, when they are affected by unpredictable changes in the environment, and when there is no clear leader of the collective behaviour.