The Science of Animal Personalities
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?
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 to talk about it.