Researchers have found that dolphins share a number of traits with humans despite living in vastly different environments. The study, published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology, took a look at 134 male and female bottlenose dolphins from eight different facilities across the world.
Each dolphin’s personality was assessed by the staff at the dolphin’s facility. The results have found that dolphins specifically share sociability and curiosity with humans.
The aim of the study was to understand how specific human personality traits could develop independently of immediate environments. These similarities were found despite dolphins having evolved in a completely different environment from primates, with the last common ancestor living about 95 million years ago.
“Dolphins were a great animal for this kind of study because, like primates, dolphins are intelligent and social. We reasoned that if factors such as intelligence and gregariousness contribute to personality, then dolphins should have similar personality traits to primates,” Dr Blake Morton, a psychology lecturer at the University of Hull and the lead author of the study, said, as reported by The Guardian.
“Dolphins, like many primates, have brains that are considerably larger than what their bodies require for basic bodily functions; this excess of brain matter essentially powers their ability to be intelligent, and intelligent species are often very curious.”
According to Morton, the most widely accepted model of human personality comes down to five traits.