[MARMAM] New paper on life history and brain size in odontocetes

Lori Marino lmarino at emory.edu
Wed Jul 5 17:49:50 PDT 2006

Dear Colleagues - this is to announce that the following new paper on 
brains and life history in odontocetes is on-line at


Lefebvre, L, Marino, L., Sol, D, Lemieux S, Arshad, S. (2006).  Large 
brains and lengthened life history periods in odontocetes. Brain 
Behavior and Evolution. 268: 218-228.


      Previous work on primates and birds suggests that large brains 
require longer periods of juvenile growth, leading to reproductive 
constraints due to delayed maturation.  We examined the relationship 
between brain size and life history periods in cetaceans, a 
large-brained mammalian order that has been largely ignored.  We looked 
at males and females of twenty-five species of odontocetes, using 
independent contrasts and multiple regressions to disentangle possible 
phylogenetic effects and inter-correlations among life history traits.  
We corrected all variables for body size allometry and separated life 
span into adult and juvenile periods.  For females and both sexes 
combined, gestation, time to sexual maturity, time as an adult and life 
span were all positively associated with residual brain size in simple 
regressions; in multiple regressions maximum life span and time as an 
adult were the best predictors of brain size.  Males showed few 
significant trends.  Our results suggest that brain size has co-evolved 
with extended life history periods in odontocetes, as it has in primates 
and birds, and that a lengthened adult period could have been an 
important component of encephalization in cetaceans.

For a reprint please contact me at lmarino at emory.edu

Thank you,

Lori Marino

Lori Marino, Ph.D.
Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology Program
1462 Clifton Road, Suite 304
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
Phone: (404) 727-7582
Fax: (404) 727-7471

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
- John Muir

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