Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Animals have personalities, too, bird study suggests

Date:
April 28, 2011
Source:
University of York
Summary:
An individual's personality can have a big effect on their life. Some people are outgoing and gregarious while others find novel situations stressful which can be detrimental to their health and wellbeing. Increasingly, scientists are discovering that animals are no different.

Greenfinch (carduelis chloris). An individual's personality can have a big effect on their life. Some people are outgoing and gregarious while others find novel situations stressful which can be detrimental to their health and wellbeing. Increasingly, scientists are discovering that animals are no different.
Credit: JMP de Nieuwburgh / Fotolia

An individual's personality can have a big effect on their life. Some people are outgoing and gregarious while others find novel situations stressful which can be detrimental to their health and wellbeing. Increasingly, scientists are discovering that animals are no different.

A new study led by Dr 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. The research is published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Dr Arnold teamed up with graduate student Katherine Herborn, at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow, 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 each greenfinch's food bowl, and 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.

Dr Arnold and Katherine Herborn also measured the greenfinches' motivation to explore by attaching an intriguing object to the birds' perches and timing how long it took them to land next to it. However, there was no correlation between the birds' courage and curiosity.

The researchers then measured the birds' damaging reactive oxygen metabolite levels and their defences against them. Comparing the bird's blood oxidative profiles with their personalities, the team found that the most timid birds had the highest levels of damaging oxygen toxins and the weakest defences, so they suffered more oxidative stress than braver individuals. Also, the scientists found that the most curious birds (those that approached objects fastest) had better defences against oxidative damage than less curious greenfinches.

Dr Arnold wants to extend the work to establish how personality traits affects birds in the wild. She says, "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 ."

The research also involved scientists at The Edward Grey Institute, Department of Zoology at Oxford and the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition at Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. The research was part-funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Royal Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of York. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. A. Herborn, J. Coffey, S. D. Larcombe, L. Alexander, K. E. Arnold. Oxidative profile varies with personality in European greenfinches. Journal of Experimental Biology, 2011; 214 (10): 1732 DOI: 10.1242/jeb.051383

Cite This Page:

University of York. "Animals have personalities, too, bird study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427092053.htm>.
University of York. (2011, April 28). Animals have personalities, too, bird study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427092053.htm
University of York. "Animals have personalities, too, bird study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427092053.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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