Why a big brain is good

(ORDO NEWS) — The debate about how much intelligence depends on brain size has been going on for many years.

Some believe that there is no correlation here, remembering Einstein’s brain, which was smaller than that of the average man, some, on the contrary, defend the point of view that size matters. And, it seems, in the case of animals it really does.

So, you have a task ahead of you. There is a strange box, inside of which there is obviously something tasty. The box is closed, you have never seen it, but the food must be obtained. How? Only by trial and error.

Just such a problem was recently thrown to predators from nine zoos in the United States. The results of the study were published in 2016 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and they showed that the larger the animal had a brain in proportion to its total body weight, the faster it solved this problem.

The researchers tested 140 different animals of 39 species, measuring how long it would take them to get food from a bolted metal cage. All cages differed in size depending on the subject – bears and tigers received much larger cages than otters and foxes.

Bears showed the best results, they got food in 70% of cases. But the meerkats and mongooses did not cope with the task at all, and each time they were left without food.

“Our results are quite compelling, and they show that a large brain significantly increases the ability of an animal to solve a problem that it has never met before,” says Kay Holkamp, ​​biologist and author of the paper. I mean, sometimes size does matter.


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