Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wisdom of Crowds? Or Wisdom of Wombats?

A few years ago, New Yorker financial writer James Surowiecki published The Wisdom of Crowds, explaining that often, "under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them." ABC's 20/20 considered this idea in a recent report, featuring business professor Michael Mauboussin. You can view an excerpt of the report, or read it in its entirety.

But have you heard of a "wisdom of wombats?"

Just like we use special words we already know to describe groups of species--"gaggle" of geese, "pride" of lions, "herd" of cattle--there are plenty of these you may have never heard of:

a murder of crows, a cackle of hyenas, a wisdom of wombats.

You can read even more, courtesy of the San Diego Zoo.

So when a bunch of wombats get together, make way for the wisdom.

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