Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sheep Shed Light On Personality Differences

Date:
September 26, 2009
Source:
Université du Québec à Montréal
Summary:
Scientists recently completed a study showing the link between personality, survival and reproductive success in male bighorn sheep. In addition to being a significant advance in our knowledge of these mammals, the research offers insight into personality differences in animals and humans, from an evolutionary perspective.

Bighorn sheep battle for dominance. In a system like that of bighorn sheep where there is strong competition among the males for impregnating females, large size and high dominance status are normally key factors in a male's success.
Credit: iStockphoto

The team led by Denis Reale, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at UQAM and Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Ecology, recently completed a study showing the link between personality, survival and reproductive success in male bighorn sheep. Their results were published in  the Journal of Evolutionary Biology. In addition to being a significant advance in our knowledge of these mammals, the research offers insight into personality differences in animals and humans, from an evolutionary perspective.

Related Articles


Research

Since 1969, several teams of researchers have been studying this population of bighorn sheep in Alberta, Canada. They have collected considerable data over the years. Denis Reale and his collaborators, Julien Martin and Marco Festa-Bianchet, University of Sherbrooke, and Dave Coltman and Jocelyn Poissant, University of Alberta, focused on the animals' personality. Initially, the team identified the rams in terms of boldness and docility. They then conducted paternity tests to determine which rams were reproducing.

In a system like that of bighorn sheep where there is strong competition among the males for impregnating females, large size and high dominance status are normally key factors in a male's success. Males usually attain these conditions in the prime of life (between 6 and 12 years). However, the paternity tests showed that some young males manage to fertilize females.

Given the risk associated with participation in the rut (males can be injured or fall from a cliff in fighting), Denis Reale and his colleagues hypothesized that the young males that manage to reproduce would be the boldest and most combative. Analysis of the data confirmed this hypothesis. However, in exchange for sexual precocity and risk-taking, these rams often die younger than their more docile peers! The latter, instead, invest in the long term, breed later and reach an older age.

The research thus indicates a variation in the personalities and life histories of the population, with two extreme types: one that could be characterised as "live fast and die" and the other as "slow and steady wins the race." Depending on their personality, the males managed to breed and to transmit their genes, but in different ways. This study demonstrates that personality has a direct influence on the lifestyle of individuals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Université du Québec à Montréal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Reale et al. Male personality, life-history strategies and reproductive success in a promiscuous mammal. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 2009; 22 (8): 1599 DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2009.01781.x

Cite This Page:

Université du Québec à Montréal. "Sheep Shed Light On Personality Differences." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915154901.htm>.
Université du Québec à Montréal. (2009, September 26). Sheep Shed Light On Personality Differences. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915154901.htm
Université du Québec à Montréal. "Sheep Shed Light On Personality Differences." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915154901.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) — While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) — European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) — According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) — Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins