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Adaptation and the Brain - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Adaptation and the Brain

Susan D. Healy


The rationale for this work is to make some sort of sense of the seeming myriad of adaptive explanations for why vertebrate brains vary in size. The role that natural selection has played in brain size has been addressed using the comparative method, which allows identification of evolutionary patterns across species. One starting assumption is that brain size is a useful proxy for intelligence and therefore that large-brained animals are more intelligent than smaller-brained animals. Five classes of selection pressure form the majority of explanations: ecology, technology, innovation, sex, an ... More

Keywords: adaptation, brain size, cognition, evolution, natural selection, intelligence

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780199546756
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2021 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199546756.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Susan D. Healy, author
Professor, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, UK