Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2011 May 5

Individual animals have personalities

YORK, England (UPI) — Pet owners may have known this, but Scottish and British researchers confirm individual animals have personalities of their own.
Dr. Kathryn Arnold of the University of York and graduate student Katherine Herborn of the University of Glasgow tested 22 greenfinches’ reactions to a novel situation by adding a brightly colored cookie-cutter to each greenfinch’s food bowl and timing how long it took for the birds to approach the food — for a test of courage.
The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, found the boldest birds took only a few seconds to overcome their fear of the object while more timid birds took up to 30 minutes to approach their food.
Arnold and 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. The researchers found there was no correlation between the birds’ courage and curiosity — so the birds high in courage were not necessarily high in curiosity.
The researchers compared the bird’s blood oxidative profiles with their personalities and team found that the most timid birds had the highest levels of damaging oxygen toxins and the weakest defenses, so they suffered more oxidative stress than braver individuals.
In addition, the scientists found the most curious birds had better defenses against oxidative damage than less curious greenfinches.
The findings suggest outgoing and gregarious while others find novel situations stressful, which can be detrimental to their health and well-being, the researchers say.

Copyright 2011 by United Press International



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