The Science of Animal Personalities

Nov 16, 2017

Serious researchers long shied away from so-called anthropomorphism. But biologist John Shivik says animal personalities and emotion are key to understanding how species evolved. So why are some animals shy and others ornery? Shivik joins us Thursday.

Most pet owners would say it’s obvious that animals have emotions and personalities, but it’s a question researchers have long disregarded as sentimental anthropomorphism. That’s changing though, and Utah biologist John Shivik has written a book that explores how wildlife and domesticated animals have evolved traits like shyness, charisma, or orneriness to adapt to the world around them. It’s called “Mousy Cats and Sheepish Coyotes,” and Shivik joins us Thursday to talk about it.

  • John Shivik is a biologist who has worked as a federal researcher and wildlife manager and as state predator biologist. He's the author of The Predator Paradox [Indie bookstores|Amazon] and his new book Mousy Cats and Sheepish Coyotes: The Science of Animal Personalities. [Indie bookstores|Amazon|Audible]