Female animals' brains grow larger, and males' horns grow larger

While it's hard to overlook the giant antlers and antlers that animals like moose and rams flaunt around, researchers recently made a remarkable discovery by investigating what's going on with their hornless female counterparts. National Geographic He dives into the study, which examined more than 400 specimens of ungulates (think hoofed animals: deer, moose, sheep, goats, and antelope) in seven different museums, a process that took years to implement. The researchers found that while males began to develop heavy weapons, females began to develop larger brains. “I think females are a really important aspect of biology that is often overlooked,” says study co-author Nicole Lopez from the University of Montana. “Because it usually looks dull, boring, or not very well done.”

Paper published in Behavioral ecology and sociobiologyHe suggests that male brain sizes have remained constant as they invest energy in growing antlers, which are ever larger, over time. However, “it's not that when males invest more in their weapons, they become dumber,” says co-author Ted Stankovich of Cal State Long Beach. The authors suggest that male and female traits are related to each other. They hypothesize that as males developed larger arms, the social structures in their herds became more complex. “Females probably need larger brains to know who to mate with and how to navigate their social system,” Stankovic says.

says evolutionary biologist Umat Somji (who was not involved in the study) of the University of Texas National Geographic Although this theory is compelling, larger brains are not always associated with intelligence, and more data needs to be collected on behavioral traits. However, some advantages have been demonstrated. for every Phys.orgEvidence suggests that female deer in Scotland with larger brains lived longer and had more offspring. With these new findings, Lopez wonders whether the focus on males fighting to win over their mates should shift to the choices these great female brains make. “But it may be that we're not testing it in the right ways to show that [females] “You kind of have a decision on which males you end up mating with,” she says. (Elsewhere, a very Canadian warning: Don't let a moose lick your car.)

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