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Both diet and sociality affect primate brain-size evolution.

Grabowski, M, Kopperud, BT, Tsuboi, M and Hansen, TF (2022) Both diet and sociality affect primate brain-size evolution. Systematic Biology. ISSN 1063-5157

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/syac075 (Published version)


Increased brain size in humans and other primates is hypothesized to confer cognitive benefits but brings costs associated with growing and maintaining energetically expensive neural tissue. Previous studies have argued that changes in either diet or levels of sociality led to shifts in brain size, but results were equivocal. Here we test these hypotheses using phylogenetic comparative methods designed to jointly account for and estimate the effects of adaptation and phylogeny. Using the largest current sample of primate brain and body sizes with observation error, complemented by newly compiled diet and sociality data, we show that both diet and sociality have influenced the evolution of brain size. Shifting from simple to more complex levels of sociality resulted in relatively larger brains, while shifting to a more folivorous diet led to relatively smaller brains. While our results support the role of sociality, they modify a range of ecological hypotheses centered on the importance of frugivory, and instead indicate that digestive costs associated with increased folivory may have resulted in relatively smaller brains.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Slouch ; bayou ; adaptation; allometry; energetic constraints; evolutionary trend; phylogenetic comparative methods; primate brain size; social-brain hypothesis; 0603 Evolutionary Biology; 0604 Genetics; Evolutionary Biology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2022 10:01
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2023 12:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1093/sysbio/syac075
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18405
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