In case you need a reminder of just how amazing nature is, here’s an exciting example of animals cooperating in a truly extraordinary way: Biologists have captured rare photos of two mutually beneficial species exchanging business cards.
Earlier this week, researchers in the Nile Delta witnessed a crocodile and a plover bird exchanging business cards, becoming the first humans to ever capture this remarkable behavior on camera. The stunning photographs document the crocodile as it makes a phone gesture with its claw before extending its business card to the plover, who receives the card and squawks with gratitude. The plover then extends its own business card to the crocodile, who slaps its head against the dirt as if to telegraph a desire to stay in touch about working together in the future. The mesmerizing sequence provides a glimpse into an incredible moment of cooperation between two wildly different species, revealing how even animals at opposite ends of the food chain must depend on each other to expand their professional networks and find lucrative new business opportunities in their unforgiving ecosystems.
What may at first glance seem like a random encounter between a bird and a reptile is actually the product of hundreds of millions of years of precise evolutionary conditioning: The plover appears to have an innate understanding of the exact amount of eye contact required to seem engaged but not overeager, while the crocodile seems to intuit just how to flare its nostrils to signal polite receptiveness but without making any concrete commitments right away. Though the crocodile could easily eat the plover, it grasps the importance of maintaining ongoing email relationships with opposing species in order to position it for optimal success in their wetland economy.
It is truly a breathtaking sight to behold.
The astounding synchronicity between this crocodile and plover highlights the great importance of each and every species—from the lowliest shorebirds to the mightiest predators—in maintaining a fruitful and collaborative business climate in which ideas can be freely exchanged and innovative solutions can be reached to the collective benefit of all wildlife. There’s no doubt that researchers will be learning from this haunting interspecies dance for years to come. Wow!