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By Martine E. Hahn

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Extra resources for Development and Evolution of Brain Size. Behavioral Implications

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There is more to be said on this matter, but it can be summed up by admitting that we have no explanation for the difference between the sexes in brain weight. The History of Diversity We are now ready to review the fossil record of diversity in brain size. Our perspective is that developed in the previous pages. The fossil record of diversity above the species level was the main topic of Jerison (1973). It can be summed up briefly as indicating that body size has played more or less the same role in determining brain size throughout the history of the vertebrates.

To the extent that bodily structures are similar, there are inevitable similarities in the brain maps of different species. When there are also important functional differences among species, these may be reflected in the brain as differences in the number of maps and the amount of detail in a map. Rhesus monkeys, for example, probably have at least 12 separable and differently specialized maps of their retinas at the level of the visual cortex alone (Zeki, 1978). Mammals less reliant on vision probably have fewer and less detailed maps, and, consequently, less extensive visual cortex.

This hypothesis could be easily tested on the mouse strains of large and small brain size on which Roderick, Wimer, and Wimer will report in this volume. It remains then to establish ecological conditions in which a higher life expectancy results in higher Darwinian fitness. This is not true in monogamous societies where the last part of the life span is reproductively wasted, but it may occur in polygamous societies where a few powerful males are married to the majority of the females. Considerations of this type may lead to an agnostic position concerning selective conditions in the past.

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