Brains and brawn helped crows and ravens take over the world

Crows and ravens are well known for their black color and the harsh “caw” sound they make. They are intelligent birds that use tools, solve complex abstract problems and speak a volume of words. But what is less well appreciated is how diverse they are. Their diversity is accompanied by their ability to live all […]

Brainy birds may fare better under climate change

Many North American migratory birds are shrinking in size as temperatures have warmed over the past 40 years. But those with very big brains, relative to their body size, did not shrink as much as smaller-brained birds, according to new research from Washington University in St. Louis. The study is the first to identify a […]

Botero receives NSF EAGER grant

Carlos Botero, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, was awarded a one-year $149,729 National Science Foundation EAGER grant for the project “Removing barriers to macro-ecoevolutionary studies of the avian brain.” The new award will allow Botero to build out a dataset that integrates studies on brain size variation with a variety of high-quality […]

Which came first: big brains or demanding environments?

Testing the idea that environmental challenges drive the evolution of bigger brains From the WashU Newsroom… Given how proud we are of our big brains, it’s ironic that we haven’t yet figured out why we have them. One idea, called the cognitive buffer hypothesis, is that the evolution of large brains is driven by the adaptive […]