Big Brains Strike Again


magpie (Pica pica) (Credit: Wikimedia user 4028mdk09)

Two back-to-back studies on how big-brained animals thrive in new habitats piqued my curiosity about the real implications of relative brain size. If you heard last week's science podcast, you know that species with big brains relative to their bodies are more successful than small-brained ones in new habitats. That holds true for birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles–all of which often land in unfamiliar environments due to human trade and travel. Now another study finds that a big brain-to-body ratio helps birds thrive in cities. [...]