Coltman, a U of A biology professor, is part of a team that traps the animals in a plywood enclosure on a mountaintop in the Rockies. He and the research team are trying to figure out if personality type has anything to do with how long a mountain sheep lives or how many offspring it produces.
The extreme ends of the personality measurement are bold and submissive. For example, with the younger male mountain sheep, a typical bold personality will try and steal away a ewe from the older dominant ram. Coltman equates that to a "live fast, die young" mentality seen regularly in the human world.
The animal is given a grade for personality based on how big a fight it puts up when researchers try and get its weight and measurements and Coltman says carrying out a personality profile can be dangerous. The average ram weighs 125 kilograms, but while some captured rams and even ewes put up a fight, Coltman says others are complete pussycats. "With some ewes you just put your hand on their head," said Coltman. "They just sit back on their bums and you can measure and weigh them; it's that easy."
But with others, the research doesn't come that easy. "We were filled with dread when one ram we nicknamed 'Psycho' turned up in a trap," said Coltman. "Year in and year out Psycho's reaction was the same. He tried to kill us."
The Ram Mountain trap-and-release study was originally organized close to 40 years ago to monitor the growth, health and population of bighorn sheep. Coltman is co-author of a recent paper on animal personality published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.
For an interview with Coltman and still photos from the research please contact Brian Murphy.
Brian Murphy | EurekAlert!
What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society
Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
23.08.2017 | Automotive Engineering
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences