The evolution of mammalian brain size

Smaers, JB ORCID:, Rothman, RS ORCID:, Hudson, DR ORCID:, Balanoff, AM ORCID:, Beatty, B ORCID:, Dechmann, DKN ORCID:, de Vries, D ORCID:, Dunn, JC ORCID:, Fleagle, JG ORCID:, Gilbert, CC ORCID:, Goswami, A, Iwaniuk, AN ORCID:, Jungers, WL, Kerney, M ORCID:, Ksepka, DT ORCID:, Manger, PR ORCID:, Mongle, CS, Rohlf, FJ ORCID:, Smith, NA ORCID:, Soligo, C ORCID:, Weisbecker, V ORCID: and Safi, K ORCID: 2021, 'The evolution of mammalian brain size' , Science Advances, 7 (18) , eabe2101.

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Relative brain size has long been considered a reflection of cognitive capacities and has played a fundamental role in developing core theories in the life sciences. Yet, the notion that relative brain size validly represents selection on brain size relies on the untested assumptions that brain-body allometry is restrained to a stable scaling relationship across species and that any deviation from this slope is due to selection on brain size. Using the largest fossil and extant dataset yet assembled, we find that shifts in allometric slope underpin major transitions in mammalian evolution and are often primarily characterized by marked changes in body size. Our results reveal that the largest-brained mammals achieved large relative brain sizes by highly divergent paths. These findings prompt a reevaluation of the traditional paradigm of relative brain size and open new opportunities to improve our understanding of the genetic and developmental mechanisms that influence brain size.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** Article version: VoR ** From Crossref journal articles via Jisc Publications Router ** Licence for VoR version of this article starting on 28-04-2021: **Journal IDs: eissn 2375-2548 **History: published_online 28-04-2021
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Science Advances
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
ISSN: 2375-2548
Related URLs:
Funders: National Science Foundation, H2020 European Research Council, Gerstner Fellowship and the Gerstner Family Foundation, the Kalbfleisch Fellowship, and the Richard Gilder Graduate School of the American Museum of Natural History, Australian Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router
Depositing User: Publications Router
Date Deposited: 07 May 2021 11:02
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 07:08

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