Journal of Statistical Physics

, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 628–646

Modeling the Emergence of Modular Leadership Hierarchy During the Collective Motion of Herds Made of Harems


DOI: 10.1007/s10955-014-1131-7

Cite this article as:
Ozogány, K. & Vicsek, T. J Stat Phys (2015) 158: 628. doi:10.1007/s10955-014-1131-7


Gregarious animals need to make collective decisions in order to keep their cohesiveness. Several species of them live in multilevel societies, and form herds composed of smaller communities. We present a model for the development of a leadership hierarchy in a herd consisting of loosely connected sub-groups (e.g. harems) by combining self organization and social dynamics. It starts from unfamiliar individuals without relationships and reproduces the emergence of a hierarchical and modular leadership network that promotes an effective spreading of the decisions from more capable individuals to the others, and thus gives rise to a beneficial collective decision. Our results stemming from the model are in a good agreement with our observations of a Przewalski horse herd (Hortobágy, Hungary). We find that the harem-leader to harem-member ratio observed in Przewalski horses corresponds to an optimal network in this approach regarding common success, and that the observed and modeled harem size distributions are close to a lognormal.


Collective animal behaviour Leadership hierarchy Multilevel societies Collective decision making Modular hierarchy 

Supplementary material (34.8 mb)
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ESM 2 (MOV 8426 kb)
10955_2014_1131_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (539 kb)
ESM 3 (PDF 593 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological PhysicsEötvös UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.MTA-ELTE Statistical and Biological Physics Research GroupBudapestHungary

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