Adaptive priorities in brain development: Theoretical comment on Pravosudov et al. (2005)

Stephen Nowicki, William Searcy

7 Scopus citations


V. V. Pravosudov, P. Lavenex, and A. Omanska (2005) reported that undernutrition in the first few weeks' posthatching leads to lower mean hippocampus volumes in adult Western scrub jays (Aphelocoma californica) and to poorer performance on spatial memory tasks. Together with prior work on the effects of poor nutrition on the development of the song system in songbirds, these results fit reasonably well with the view that natural selection determines priorities for investment in the development of neural structures. What seems somewhat anomalous under this view is that undernutrition did not affect the development of color association abilities in scrub jays. This work sets the stage for future comparative research on adaptive priorities in the development of brain and behavior.


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