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Animals with bigger brains, broader diets have better self control
Date:4/24/2014

es with superior self-control had more diverse diets, supporting the notion that animals owe their intelligence to the challenges of foraging for a wide array of foods, like fruit, that vary in ripeness and availability from one place and season to the next.

"Animals that rely on lots of different foods can't keep foraging in the same spots," MacLean said. They have to resist the tendency to return again and again to, say, the same fig tree or cache of nuts in favor of exploring new areas.

Previous studies have found links between various measures of cognitive ability and traits such as brain size or diet, but no other study has demonstrated a connection across such a wide range of species or on such a large scale.

Future studies will use their worldwide network of animal experts to try to understand how other aspects of the animal mind came to be.

"One particular aspect of cognition might be critical for one species but useless for another," MacLean said. "Intelligence isn't one-dimensional."


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Contact: Robin Ann Smith
rsmith@nescent.org
919-668-4544
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)
Source:Eurekalert  

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