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Neocortex evolution in primates: the 'social brain' is for females
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Animal Ecology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3245-0850
2005 (English)In: Biology Letters, ISSN 1744-9561, E-ISSN 1744-957X, Vol. 1, 407-410 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

According to the social intelligence hypothesis, relative neocortex size should be directly related to the degree of social complexity. This hypothesis has found support in a number of comparative studies of group size. The relationship between neocortex and sociality is thought to exist either because relative neocortex size limits group size or because a larger group size selects for a larger neocortex. However, research on primate social evolution has indicated that male and female group sizes evolve in relation to different demands. While females mostly group according to conditions set by the environment, males instead simply go where the females are. Thus, any hypothesis relating to primate social evolution has to analyse its relationship with male and female group sizes separately. Since sex-specific neocortex sizes in primates are unavailable in sufficient quantity, I here instead present results from phylogenetic comparative analyses of unsexed relative neocortex sizes and female and male group sizes. These analyses show that while relative neocortex size is positively correlated with female group size, it is negatively, or not at all correlated with male group size. This indicates that the social intelligence hypothesis only applies to female sociality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 1, 407-410 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-37777DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2005.0362OAI: diva2:305087
Available from: 2010-03-22 Created: 2010-03-22 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved

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Lindenfors, Patrik
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Animal EcologyCentre for the Study of Cultural Evolution
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