Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS
Relative brain size and ecology in birds
Article first published online: 20 AUG 2009
1985 The Zoological Society of London
Journal of Zoology
Volume 207, Issue 2, pages 151–169, October 1985
How to Cite
Bennett, P. M. and Harvey, P. H. (1985), Relative brain size and ecology in birds. Journal of Zoology, 207: 151–169. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1985.tb04920.x
- Issue published online: 20 AUG 2009
- Article first published online: 20 AUG 2009
- (Accepted 11 December 1984)
We test the hypothesis that the relative sizes of the different parts of the brain (brain stem, optic lobes, cerebellum and cerebral hemispheres), measured after body size effects have been removed, are associated with differences in behaviour and ecology across bird species.
The results demonstrate that behavioural and ecological correlates of relative brain size are not independent of each other. When the effects of variation in other categories are accounted for, the strongest single effect is due to relatively large brain sizes being associated with altricial development. It is unlikely that this effect is due to the confounding influence of taxonomic associations.
Overall, the results do not provide support for the idea that differences in measures of environmental complexity select for differences in relative brain size.