Animals have distinct personality types, the Telegraph reveals
In a new study of African elephants, researchers have identified four distinct characters that are prevalent with a herd – the leaders, the gentle giants, the playful rogues and the reliable plodders. Each of the types has developed to help the giant mammals survive in their harsh environment and are almost unique in the animal kingdom, according to the scientists.
Professor Lee and her colleague Cynthia Moss studied a herd of elephants in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya known as the EB family – famous for their matriarch Echo before she died in 2009. Using data collected over 38 years of watching this group, the researchers analysed them for 26 types of behaviour and found four personality traits tended to come to the fore.
The strongest personality to emerge was that of the leader. The researchers looked for those elephants that tended to influence the movements and direction of the group. Unlike other animals, where leadership tends to be won by the most dominant and aggressive individual, the elephants instead respected intelligence and problem solving in their leader.
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