Size does not matter – in bird brains

Bigger does not mean better in the bird world.

“Bird brains are small, but they have the same number of neurons as the average primate,” says Prof. Ryan Gregory, Department of Integrative Biology.

“Contrary to the idea of ‘bird brains,’ they’re pretty bright.”

In a recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology, he found that birds with smaller genomes have more neurons crammed into the same brain mass than those with larger genomes.

Pack neurons more densely, and you promote more neuronal connections, a key factor in intelligence.

“At the cell level, that tells us about how complex brains evolve,” Gregory says.

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