Evolution of animal personalities studied

Jun 05, 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: Decades-old amber collection offers new views of a lost world (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Report on viruses looks beyond disease

Jul 22, 2014

In contrast to their negative reputation as disease causing agents, some viruses can perform crucial biological and evolutionary functions that help to shape the world we live in today, according to a new report by the American ...

Recommended for you

Sugar mimics guide stem cells toward neural fate

1 hour ago

Embryonic stem cells can develop into a multitude of cells types. Researchers would like to understand how to channel that development into the specific types of mature cells that make up the organs and other structures of ...

Chinese mosquitos on the Baltic Sea

1 hour ago

The analysis of the roughly 3,000 pieces is still in its infant stage. But it is already evident that the results will be of major significance. "Amazingly often, we are finding–in addition to Asian forms–the ...

Baby zebra is latest success in research partnership

2 hours ago

The recent birth of a female Grevy's zebra foal at the Saint Louis Zoo marks another milestone in a long-running Washington University in St. Louis research partnership that is making significant contributions ...

User comments : 0