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dc.contributor.authorFedorova, Natalia
dc.contributor.authorEvans, Cara L.
dc.contributor.authorByrne, Richard W.
dc.identifier.citationFedorova , N , Evans , C L & Byrne , R W 2017 , ' Living in stable social groups is associated with reduced brain size in woodpeckers ( Picidae ) ' , Biology Letters , vol. 13 , no. 3 , 20170008 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 249229371
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 64d2d5ad-deff-4553-8fbc-d73b2e4b19f5
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85017387062
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0001-9862-9373/work/60630517
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000398960000014
dc.descriptionNF was supported by University of St Andrews undergraduate research assistantship program, and CLE was supported by a BBSRC studentship.en
dc.description.abstractGroup size predicts brain size in primates and some other mammal groups, but no such relationship has been found in birds. Instead, stable pair-bonding and bi-parental care have been identified as correlates of larger brains in birds. We investigated the relationship between brain size and social system within the family Picidae, using phylogenetically controlled regression analysis. We found no specific effect of duration or strength of pair bonds, but brain sizes were systematically smaller in species living in long-lasting social groups of larger sizes. Group living may only present a cognitive challenge in groups in which members have individually competitive relationships; we therefore propose that groups functioning for cooperative benefit may allow disinvestment in expensive brain tissue.
dc.relation.ispartofBiology Lettersen
dc.rights© 2017 the Author(s). This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at
dc.subjectSocial intelligence theoryen
dc.subjectSocial complexityen
dc.subjectGroup sizeen
dc.subjectBrain evolutionen
dc.subjectBF Psychologyen
dc.subjectQL Zoologyen
dc.titleLiving in stable social groups is associated with reduced brain size in woodpeckers (Picidae)en
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Biologyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Psychology and Neuroscienceen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Centre for Social Learning & Cognitive Evolutionen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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