Cute pig By Petr Kratochvil

Piggy pronunciations put porky personalities on show

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
Pigs oink more or less frequently depending on their personalities, according to UK scientists. As well as the porkers' personalities, their vocalisations varied depending on standards of animal welfare. Pigs kept in poor conditions oinked less than those from enriched environs, and had more 'extreme' personalities, say the scientists.

Journal/conference: Royal Society Open Science

Organisation/s: Queen’s University Belfast, UK

Funder: BBSRC, DEL-NI and Queen’s University Belfast.

Media Release

From: The Royal Society

Acoustic Signalling Reflects Personality in a Social Mammal

Social interactions among individuals are often mediated through acoustic signals. If acoustic signals are consistent and related to an individual’s personality, these consistent individual differences in signalling may be an important driver in social interactions. However, few studies in nonhuman mammals have investigated the relationship between acoustic signalling and personality. Here we show that acoustic signalling rate is repeatable and strongly related to personality in a highly social mammal, the domestic pig (Sus scrofa domestica). Furthermore, acoustic signalling varied between environments of differing quality, with males from a poor-quality environment having a reduced vocalization rate compared with females and males from an enriched environment. Such differences may be mediated by personality with pigs from a poor-quality environment having more reactive and more extreme personality scores compared with pigs from an enriched environment. Our results add to the evidence that acoustic signalling reflects personality in a nonhuman mammal. Signals reflecting personalities may have far reaching consequences in shaping the evolution of social behaviours as acoustic communication forms an integral part of animal societies.

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    Piggy-personalities_Roy-Soc-Open-Science_media-release.docx, 12.9 KB
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  • The Royal Society
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