La théorie des jeux… et des oiseaux

La théorie des jeux est quand même un outil formidable :

 « A team of scientists, led by the University of Exeter, has used game theory to explain the bizarre behaviour of a group of ravens. Juvenile birds from a roost in North Wales have been observed adopting the unusual strategy of foraging for food in ‘gangs’. New research, published in the journal PLoS One (on Wednesday 25 February 2009), explains how this curious behaviour can be predicted by adapting models more commonly used by economists to analyse financial trends.

This is the first time game theory has been used to successfully predict novel animal behaviour in the real world. The researchers believe this analysis could also shed light on the variation in feeding strategies in different populations in other species.

Ravens feed on the carcasses of large animals. Most populations live in temperate forests, where individuals search for carcasses and finds are then defended by a pair of territorial adults. Unpaired younger birds, on the other hand, gather at communal roosts from which they search individually for carcasses on adult territories and recruit each other to overwhelm adult protectionism. However, at one raven roost on Anglesey, things work differently: juveniles forage in gangs. This level of coordination had not been seen before in a raven population.

The researchers built a mathematical model to understand how this behaviour evolved and why it might occur in some roosts and not others. The model designed for this study was based on techniques used in other game theory models, which identify the most profitable behaviours of individuals in different situations to predict what would be favoured by evolution ».

L’article en question peut être consulté ici.

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2 réponses à “La théorie des jeux… et des oiseaux

  1. Linca

    J’ai l’impression que l’utilisation du terme « prédire » dans ce cas est un peu abusive, non ?

  2. REW

    Ce n’est pas the premier utlization de la théorie des jeux dans le champ de biologie. Voir, par exemple, Evolution and the Theory of Games, écrit par John Maynard Smith (1982).

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