Extroverted Gorillas Live Longer Than Shy Ones

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For gorillas, it pays to have personality. Extroverted gorillas in captivity outlive their shy friends, according to a new study of the animals in North American zoos and sanctuaries, reports LiveScience.

To arrive at this conclusion, researchers used methods adapted from studying human personality. They analyzed data from 298 gorillas over 18 years of the animals’ lives and found that those apes that were more sociable, active, playful and curious tended to live longer lives, regardless of gender, age at assessment or how many different facilities the animal had lived in during its life.

Similarly, studies investigating human personality and lifespan have found that extroverted people outlive introverts, on average. Centenarians, for example, tend to be positive, outgoing and easygoing people. This kind of personality may have a genetic underlying which could also be linked to health.

“These findings highlight how understanding the natural history of personality is vital to ensuring the continued health and well-being of humans, gorillas and other great apes,” the gorilla researchers told LiveScience. Being great apes ourselves, we can likely take a cue from our more hairy but optimistic relatives.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Positive Thinking
A Gorilla Family in the Wild

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