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Hyenas Prefer To Buddy Up With ‘Friends Of Friends’



Friendships are very crucial to humans and choosing what group of friends to belong to is very daunting for teens. These concepts about friendships can be applied to hyenas. A team of researchers in Kenya collected 55,000 observations of social interactions of Kenyan spotted hyenas over a 20-year period. Through these observations, the researchers were able to discovered a high amount of the hyenas formed bonds with “friends of friends.” Hyenas generally live in large groups that contain as many as 100 individuals. The research showed that these hyenas follow a sophisticated set of rules when they make social decisions. Males have stricter guidelines while females change preferences over time. This is due to the fact that females are the dominant sex for hyenas, so they have more flexible social preferences. Additionally, unlike men, female hyenas stay in the same clan all of their lives which gives them the advantage of knowing the social environment better than some of the males.


This article relates to class discussion in many ways. First off, the article talks about social boundaries and friendships, which we have talked about in class. The article draws a comparison between human social behavior and hyena social behavior. Additionally, the article has a great example of the triadic closure property. Hyenas develop strong relations with friends of friends and are still friends with their original friends. This is a unique relationship that follows the triadic closure property. Instead of developing strong ties with their friends, hyenas develop strong ties with their friends of friends. Similar to humans, hyenas have complicated social ties and are very selective with who they become friends with. Similar to what we learned in class, since females are the dominant sex they have more power over choosing who they are friends with. In class, we discussed how people who have more relationships or people to trade with have more power than people who do not have those options.


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October 2016