Evolution of animal personalities studied

June 5, 2007

A team of Dutch, German and Swedish scientists studying the evolution of animal personality has found animals differ strikingly in character and temperament.

Although only recently has it become evident that personalities are a widespread phenomenon in the animal kingdom, scientists have already described personality differences in more than 60 species, including primates, rodents, birds, fish, insects and mollusks.

Now research led by Max Wolf of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, who is currently at the Santa Fe Institute, is offering an explanation of the evolution of animal personalities.

Wolf -- along with Franjo Weissing of the University of Groningen, Olof Leimar of Stockholm University, and Santa Fe postdoctoral fellow Sander van Doorn -- says in many cases personalities are shaped by a simple underlying principle: the more an individual stands to lose (in terms of future reproduction) the more cautiously it is likely to behave in all kinds of situations and consistently over time.

The research is detailed in the current issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Smart cockatoos infer by exclusion

Related Stories

Smart cockatoos infer by exclusion

August 26, 2015

If there is a certain pool of choices and we can exclude A and B, we can easily deduce that C must be the appropriate choice. The ability of animals to be able to solve this has been the focus of many studies in recent comparative ...

Key protein in cilia assembly identified

August 21, 2015

The group led by ICREA Research Professor Cayetano Gonzalez at IRB Barcelona, in collaboration with the group of Professor Giuliano Callaini from the University of Siena in Italy, has published a new study in Current Biology ...

Meet Pulanesaura eocollum, a new species of dinosaur

August 20, 2015

Wits PhD student Blair McPhee has described a new species of dinosaur in a paper to be published in Scientific Reports on 19 September 2015. The new dinosaur, named Pulanesaura eocollum, means the "Rain lizard".

Recommended for you

New material science research may advance tech tools

August 31, 2015

Hard, complex materials with many components are used to fabricate some of today's most advanced technology tools. However, little is still known about how the properties of these materials change under specific temperatures, ...

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

August 31, 2015

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.