Similar Crowd Behavior in Organisms of Vastly Different Body Size

Abstract

Crowd behaviors can have large fitness consequences for social organisms. Here we ask if there are similarities in the crowd dynamics of organisms that differ in body size, manner of locomotion, cognitive abilities, and state of alarm. Existing models of human crowd behavior have not been tested for their generality across species and body size nor across routine and emergency movements. We explore this issue by comparing the traffic dynamics of humans and of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) to the predictions of our own model which was designed to simulate pedestrian movement. Some parameter values in the model were directly measured on ants but others were allometrically scaled from the human values to ant values based on the body mass difference. The model, with appropriately scaled parameters, correctly predicted two important properties of crowd behaviour for both organisms in a variety of circumstances: the flow rates and the distribution of time headways between successive ants in the escape sequence. The ability of a model of human pedestrian dynamics to predict behaviours of ant aggregations through allometric scaling of some parameter values suggests that there are fundamental features of crowd behavior that transcend the biological idiosyncrasies of the organisms involved.

DOI: 10.1007/s10905-013-9426-0

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Cite this paper

@article{Shiwakoti2013SimilarCB, title={Similar Crowd Behavior in Organisms of Vastly Different Body Size}, author={N. Shiwakoti and Majid Sarvi and Martin Burd}, journal={Journal of Insect Behavior}, year={2013}, volume={27}, pages={239-250} }