Thursday, August 04, 2005

557-561: Animal personalities

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Strong Personalities Can Pose Problems in the Mating Game -- Pennisi 309 (5735): 694 -- Science:

Many researchers credit Sih for bringing to prominence the idea that animal personalities carry survival risks. The notion plays off a proposal made 25 years ago by the late paleontologist Steven J. Gould and geneticist Richard Lewontin, both from Harvard. At that time, the two stirred up the evolutionary biology community by arguing that maladaptive traits could persist if they were linked with beneficial ones in an often-precarious balancing act. For example, guppies living around predators reproduce as early as possible so as to pass on their genes before being eaten. But the eggs slow gravid females down, making them easier prey earlier in life, a finding that lent credibility to Gould and Lewontin's idea.
Several researchers have shown how "personality" traits involved in such evolutionary tradeoffs. Evolutionary hypotheses tested.