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Seasonality and brain size are negatively associated in frogs: evidence for the expensive brain framework
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Number of Authors: 6
2017 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 7, 16629Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The challenges of seasonal environments are thought to contribute to brain evolution, but in which way is debated. According to the Cognitive Buffer Hypothesis (CBH) brain size should increase with seasonality, as the cognitive benefits of a larger brain should help overcoming periods of food scarcity via, for instance, increased behavioral flexibility. However, in line with the Expensive Brain Framework (EBF) brain size should decrease with seasonality because a smaller brain confers energetic benefits in periods of food scarcity. Empirical evidence is inconclusive and mostly limited to homoeothermic animals. Here we used phylogenetic comparative analyses to test the impact of seasonality on brain evolution across 30 species of anurans (frogs) experiencing a wide range of temperature and precipitation. Our results support the EBF because relative brain size and the size of the optic tectum were negatively correlated with variability in temperature. In contrast, we found no association between the variability in precipitation and the length of the dry season with either brain size or the sizes of other major brain regions. We suggest that seasonality-induced food scarcity resulting from higher variability in temperature constrains brain size evolution in anurans. Less seasonal environments may therefore facilitate the evolution of larger brains in poikilothermic animals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 7, 16629
National Category
Zoology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-150883DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-16921-1ISI: 000416891400031PubMedID: 29192284OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-150883DiVA: diva2:1172492
Available from: 2018-01-10 Created: 2018-01-10 Last updated: 2018-01-10Bibliographically approved

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