Humans aren't just changing the climate, causing earthquakes and you know, generally adapting the world to suit our whims. Human activity might also be driving increased brain size in animals! Woo, evolution!
In a study published yesterday, University of Minnesota biologist Emilie Snell-Rood examined a collection of mammal skulls from 10 different species to see how animal brains might be adapting to more urban environments. She found that some species are developing bigger brains in response to human disruption to their environment, both in urban and in rural communities in Minnesota.
By Snell-Rood's estimates (using cranial capacity to approximate brain size), urban-dwelling white-footed mice and meadow voles have brains that are 6 percent larger than their rural counterparts. She and her co-author also found an increase in brain size among two species of shrews and two species of bats collected from rural areas of Minnesota.
Some previous studies have found better learning and cognitive ability to be correlated with bigger brain size, though the link is disputed. Snell-Rood concludes that bigger brains and the accompanying increase in cognition could have helped animals adapt to the new challenges of finding food and surviving in human-dominated cities rather than the forests and prairies that once covered Minnesota. The current study suggests a follow-up exploring the question of brain size and urban vs. rural environments in live animals, since these results only show a correlation between the two, not a causal relationship.
The study is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
we are talking about human beings here as well i suppose. birth of a new species: Homo Urbanus.
More likely that the animals have access to better quality food. That is quite different from development based on tasks. It is also sad to note that many inner city dwellers tend to eat poorly and have access to food that is bad for them.
Actually, the problem is that much of the food is too good for them (calorie dense fatty foods are the BEST foods for any species still competing to survive - look at athletes to see the amount of carbs and fat they consume).
Things like fiber are actually bad food (as fiber is not even digestable). A high fiber diet now is simply one that tones back the good stuff and inserts a balance of bad stuff.
That means that the leavings in even a poor urban area are going to be GREAT scavaging for competeing animals.
What explains the fact that one particular species of urban mammal has become far less intelligent over the past few years? I'm talking about the urban democRAT.
its funny you say that, and yet we keep winning elections by
landslides. by landslides, get it? us young people will never, NEVER go back to the rights policies against gay people, women's choice, taxes. health care, etc....
say your crap all you want, you couldnt stop Obama, you wont stop Hillary, and if you dont like it, go to Somalia, i hear the taxes are low there.
say what you want, we won the last two, we will win the next.
you cant do anything about it riff_raff
Diet has long been a determining factor in larger brains, and IQ scores. The western nations rich with food have long had higher IQ scores because of this. Fats and sugars are leading to larger brains for some straining and breaking long neurons causing autism. Is it any wonder our animals are taking advantage of the diet too with the same result? The question is do they get autism too?