Animal personalities more human like than previously believed
A new study has said that just like humans, un-predictability is also a consistent behavioural trait among animals.
Washington: A new study has said that just like humans, un-predictability is also a consistent behavioural trait among animals.
Lead researcher and Associate Professor Peter Biro, a behavioural ecologist with Deakin`s School of Life and Environmental Sciences, said that until now, un-predictability has only been studied extensively in humans, where it has been linked to learning, ageing, and to certain diseases that produce erratic behaviour due to fluctuations in brain chemicals.
Working with Dr Bart Adriaenssens at the University of New South Wales, Dr Biro observed the behaviour of adult male mosquitofish over 132 days.
They found that the behaviour of some individuals was consistently more predictable in a given context than others. Mosquitofish were used for the study because they are widespread and easily sampled from ponds in and around cities.
Biro said that they observed that individuals differed in their average levels of activity, but also differed in variability about their average activity.
He said that some individuals chose to be active, others chose to be sedentary, some were consistent in their chosen level of activity, others not.
Biro added that they believe that un-predictability might represent a form of behavioural flexibility that facilitates learning, or makes animals un-predictable to predators or competitors.
The study findings have been published in journal The American Naturalist.