It’s not just the size that matters

“Bytes de science” is like a collection of stories. Beautiful stories that tell Jeevika in all its freshness. But also in all its complexity. A bracket to perform miracles in the treasures of the world. For this new episode, let’s take some special direction. And have a look at mammals through their brain-shaped filters. Some surprises may await us.

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Those who have already explored this question know it. In matter D ‘wisdom, It’s not just the size that matters. Brain size. As raw data, it also gives very little guidance. But there still remains an assumption that is still deeply rooted: that the comparison of size to shape brain – of Volume Cerebral, more precise – with body shape – The The mass Physically, to be precise – can be taken as a true measure of a mammal’s intelligence.

See humans for example. His brain is about seven times the size of scientists envisioned for an animal of the same size. If this is not proof … dogs To some extent in the same case. Also dolphins and elephants. How many animals that repeatedly show a certain intelligence!

The trouble is, this assumption is based on a hypothesis that has never been verified by scientists before. That the size of the brain and the body size of a mammal develop in parallel. Because it is easy to imagine that relatively large mammals develop in environments where natural selection Promotes greater intelligence.

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More than size, it is the structure of the brain that matters

” was not ” ! Because he is, Researchers Got down on the question. He compared brain volume and body mass to over 1,400 Cash. Which contains 107 extinct species. Then they built The tree Evolutionary to these species. History of how to better understand body shape and brain size has evolved over time.

Very different evolutionary trajectories are clearly evident. Elephants have grown in size. At the same time, he also developed a large brain. And this Elephants are very smart. On the other hand, A California sea lion They have surprisingly small brains for their size and intelligence. According to the researchers, the development supported a huge increase in size when their ancestors began living in water. To preserve a certain Warmth physically? To drive away predators? Because Gravity Is there less water barrier? The question remains open. But if California sea lions are smarter than other mammals with the same proportion of brain body size, it is probably because of the brain size of these mammals. Sea animals, A large amount remains devoted to tasks such as learning. look at yourself. The brains of humans and those of dolphins are certainly large, but above all they present a Neocortex – In mammals, the center of intelligence – specially developed.

Researchers note that most of the time, it is not the brain that grows as a result of development. But the bodies which are getting smaller. Because body size seems to be more important than intelligence. Especially since a big brain is expensive Energy. At the core of these major proposals will thus be particularly catastrophic events. The disappearance of dinosaurs 66 million years ago thus fueled the development of the brain. And 30 to 23 million years ago, our rapid cooling Terre Left marks that still bear today. Of which, the largest brain of mammals – in elephants or whales – the smallest – in the form of bats or gray. You can see that size is not everything … not so stupid!

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