Sharks show personality traits just like humans, study says

The next time you have one of those days where you just want to stay inside, and not socialize with anyone – think about sharks.

That’s right, we’re talking about sharks.

Thanks to a group of scientists in the UK that conducted some really interesting research, the results in Plymouth, found that individual sharks have their own personalities. The research was conducted by studying individual sharks within groups of ten, in large tanks where spacing could occur, should the creatures want that.


The findings were actually quite remarkable. The study found that as the groups were shifted into new environments, individual sharks would all embark on their own “missions,” if you will. For example, the study found that some sharks would come together, and ‘socialize’ amongst each other – while others would search out camouflage or a place where they could avoid socializing.

Interestingly enough, the type of surroundings they encountered didn’t even have an impact. Whether they were interacting in a very “busy” scene, or they were simply in a tank with nothing more than water – the individual patterns were still evident.

As the sharks were moved from one environment to the next, the study found that the same sharks that were anti-social in one setting, continued to be anti-social heading into the next setting, and the pattern carried itself throughout the entire phase of the research.

Behavioral ecologist Dr David Jacoby noted that “The results were driven by different social preferences that appeared to reflect different strategies for staying safe.” At the end of the day, the goal for all of the sharks seemed to remain the same. While none of them wanted to put themselves in the line of danger – they all seemed to have varying opinions – if you will – on what their strategy would be for staying safe, and surviving.

However, as more and more research has been conducted on animals in general over the last 10-20 years, it was noted by the individuals evaluating the study that this is becoming somewhat common. This particular research identifies social personality within sharks – and it furthers the idea that this is something that is fairly common in the animal world across the board.