Evolution of bower complexity and cerebellum size in bowerbirds

Day, Lainy B., Westcott, David A., and Olster, Deborah H. (2005) Evolution of bower complexity and cerebellum size in bowerbirds. Brain Behavior and Evolution, 66 (1).

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To entice females to mate, male bowerbirds build elaborate displays (bowers). Among species, bowers range in complexity from simple arenas decorated with leaves to complex twig or grass structures decorated with myriad colored objects. To investigate the neural underpinnings of bower building, we examined the contribution of variation in volume estimates of whole brain (WB), telencephalon minus hippocampus (TH), hippocampus (Hp) and cerebellum (Cb) to explain differences in complexity of bowers among 5 species. Using independent contrasts, we found a significant relationship between bower complexity and Cb size. We did not find support for correlated evolution between bower complexity and WB, TH, or Hp volume. These results suggest that skills supported by the cerebellum (e.g., procedural learning, motor planning) contribute to explaining the variation in bower complexity across species. Given that male mating success is in part determined by female choice for bower design, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that sexual selection has driven enlargement of the cerebellum in bowerbirds.

Item ID: 13986
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1421-9743
Keywords: birds; bowerbirds; cerebellum; Hippocampus; sexual selection
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2010 04:34
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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