Like humans, animals too display distinct personalities

April 29th, 2011 - 3:27 pm ICT by ANI  

The study led by Kathryn Arnold of the Environment Department at the University of York has added important experimental evidence showing that animal personalities are reflected in their oxidative stress profiles.

Arnold, along with graduate student Katherine Herborn, at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, jointly worked to classify the personalities of 22 ‘greenfinches’.

They tested each bird’s reactions to a novel situation by adding a brightly coloured cookie-cutter to their food bowl, timing how long it took for the birds to pluck up courage to approach the food.

The researchers found that the boldest birds took only a few seconds to overcome their fear while more timid birds took up to 30 minutes to approach their meal.

They also discovered that the most curious birds (those that approached objects fastest) had better defense against oxidative damage than less curious ‘greenfinches’.

“Neophobic birds, those that are afraid of new things may suffer high costs of oxidative stress and die early because they paid these physiological costs, but they might also be less likely to be eaten by a predator because they are more wary than bolder birds,” Arnold said.

The research has been published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. (ANI)

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