Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hyenas and social intelligence in NYT

There's a pretty good article by Carl Zimmer in the New York Times about a hyena researcher who is comparing the brains of four different species of hyenas with different social structures to see if the prediction of a brain size-social complexity correlation holds in hyenas, as it supposedly does in primates.
I was glad to see that she was also testing other forms of intelligence such as figuring out how to get food out of a cage, but the two main hypotheses for large brains (social intelligence and ability to find/get food) are probably closely linked and hard to tease apart... but she might find that one hypothesis better fits the data on hyenas.

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