Game theory used to predict novel behavior in birds

This is interesting. is reporting that some folks at the University of Exeter have used game-theoretical models to predict strange food gathering behaviors that ravens exhibit only in particular geographic conditions…

“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.

The study revealed two strategies as being most profitable for ravens to find food. One is for birds to search independently for food and recruit each other. The other is for the birds to forage in gangs.”