Followers bring out the best in their leaders, and leaders elicit better following skills in their minions, according to a new study of stickleback fish published online today (Jan. 29) in__ linkurl:Current Biology.;http://www.cell.com/current-biology/home __"Actually having good followers helps leaders get on with their tasks," said linkurl:Andrea Manica,;http://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/zoostaff/manica/people/am.htm an evolutionary biologist at the University of Cambridge who led the study. "They were doing more together than they would be doing by themselves." Manica and his colleagues monitored individual threespine sticklebacks (__Gasterosteus aculeatus__) for their willingness to leave their safe, weedy cover and venture out into the risky, open waters to feed -- an indication of fish temperament. They then randomly paired fish of varying bravado, and discovered that the daring fish tended to lead and the shy fish opted to follow. "You find these personality traits that not too long ago we thought were uniquely human, and now they're popping up...
Image: flickr/Uli1001's photostream
Interested in reading more?
Become a Member of
Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!