Male and female brain evolution is subject to contrasting selection pressures in primates.

Dunbar, Robin IM
(2007) Male and female brain evolution is subject to contrasting selection pressures in primates. BMC biology, 5 (1). 21-.

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The claim that differences in brain size across primate species has mainly been driven by the demands of sociality (the "social brain" hypothesis) is now widely accepted. Some of the evidence to support this comes from the fact that species that live in large social groups have larger brains, and in particular larger neocortices. Lindenfors and colleagues (BMC Biology 5:20) add significantly to our appreciation of this process by showing that there are striking differences between the two sexes in the social mechanisms and brain units involved. Female sociality (which is more affiliative) is related most closely to neocortex volume, but male sociality (which is more competitive and combative) is more closely related to subcortical units (notably those associated with emotional responses). Thus different brain units have responded to different selection pressures.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: 3 pages (page number not for citation purposes). Published 10 May 2007.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Brain, Animals, Humans, Sex Characteristics, Female, Male, Selection, Genetic, Biological Evolution
Subjects: ?? Q1 ??
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Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2008 15:08
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2024 13:30
DOI: 10.1186/1741-7007-5-21
Publisher's Statement : © 2007 Dunbar; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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