Long life evolves in large brained bird lineages

Jiménez-Ortega, Dante, Kolm, Niclas, Immler, Simone, Maklakov, Alexei A. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5809-1203 and Gonzalez-Voyer, Alejandro (2020) Long life evolves in large brained bird lineages. Evolution, 74 (12). pp. 2617-2628. ISSN 0014-3820

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The brain is an energetically costly organ that consumes a disproportionate amount of resources. Species with larger brains relative to their body size have slower life histories, with reduced output per reproductive event and delayed development times that can be offset by increasing behavioral flexibility. The “cognitive buffer” hypothesis maintains that large brain size decreases extrinsic mortality due to greater behavioral flexibility, leading to a longer lifespan. Alternatively, slow life histories, and long lifespan can be a pre-adaptation for the evolution of larger brains. Here, we use phylogenetic path analysis to contrast different evolutionary scenarios and disentangle direct and indirect relationships between brain size, body size, life history, and longevity across 339 altricial and precocial bird species. Our results support both a direct causal link between brain size and lifespan, and an indirect effect via other life history traits. These results indicate that large brain size engenders longer life, as proposed by the “cognitive buffer” hypothesis.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: brain size,cognitive buffer hypothesis,life history,longevity,phylogenetic path analysis,ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics,genetics,agricultural and biological sciences(all) ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Norwich Institute for Healthy Aging
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2020 23:57
Last Modified: 14 May 2023 00:34
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/76766
DOI: 10.1111/evo.14087

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