Humans are undoubtedly altering the natural environment. But how wild animals respond to these changes is complex and unclear.
In a new study, scientists have discovered significant differences in how the brain works in two distinct personality types: those who act fearless and those who seem afraid of new things.
Being fearless can help wildlife, specifically birds, find new food sources, explore new nesting areas and help them adapt to changes in their environment; but being afraid can also help protect them from dangerous novel things in their environment such as cars.
“Our study provides interesting and important evidence that some of the behavior differences could be led by gene expression,” said LSU Department of Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Christine Lattin, who is the lead author on the paper published by PLOS ONE today.
Social creatures, such as house sparrows, can learn from each other, so having a mixture of both personality types in a flock could be part of the reason this species is so successful in human-altered environments.