Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Coevolution of cultural intelligence, extended life history, sociality, and brain size in primates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Standard

Coevolution of cultural intelligence, extended life history, sociality, and brain size in primates. / Street, Sally E.; Navarrete, Ana F.; Reader, Simon M.; Laland, Kevin N.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 114, No. 30, 25.07.2017, p. 7908-7914.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

Street, SE, Navarrete, AF, Reader, SM & Laland, KN 2017, 'Coevolution of cultural intelligence, extended life history, sociality, and brain size in primates' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 114, no. 30, pp. 7908-7914. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1620734114

APA

Street, S. E., Navarrete, A. F., Reader, S. M., & Laland, K. N. (2017). Coevolution of cultural intelligence, extended life history, sociality, and brain size in primates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(30), 7908-7914. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1620734114

Vancouver

Street SE, Navarrete AF, Reader SM, Laland KN. Coevolution of cultural intelligence, extended life history, sociality, and brain size in primates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2017 Jul 25;114(30):7908-7914. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1620734114

Author

Street, Sally E. ; Navarrete, Ana F. ; Reader, Simon M. ; Laland, Kevin N. / Coevolution of cultural intelligence, extended life history, sociality, and brain size in primates. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2017 ; Vol. 114, No. 30. pp. 7908-7914.

Bibtex - Download

@article{fc4049ff0fdf459385c9505543758faa,
title = "Coevolution of cultural intelligence, extended life history, sociality, and brain size in primates",
abstract = "Explanations for primate brain expansion and the evolution of human cognition and culture remain contentious despite extensive research. While multiple comparative analyses have investigated variation in brain size across primate species, very few have addressed why primates vary in how much they use social learning. Here, we evaluate the hypothesis that the enhanced reliance on socially transmitted behavior observed in some primates has coevolved with enlarged brains, complex sociality, and extended lifespans. Using recently developed phylogenetic comparative methods we show that, across primate species, a measure of social learning proclivity increases with absolute and relative brain volume, longevity (specifically reproductive lifespan), and social group size, correcting for research effort. We also confirm relationships of absolute and relative brain volume with longevity (both juvenile period and reproductive lifespan) and social group size, although longevity is generally the stronger predictor. Relationships between social learning, brain volume, and longevity remain when controlling for maternal investment and are therefore not simply explained as a by-product of the generally slower life history expected for larger brained species. Our findings suggest that both brain expansion and high reliance on culturally transmitted behavior coevolved with sociality and extended lifespan in primates. This coevolution is consistent with the hypothesis that the evolution of large brains, sociality, and long lifespans has promoted reliance on culture, with reliance on culture in turn driving further increases in brain volume, cognitive abilities, and lifespans in some primate lineages.",
keywords = "Cultural evolution, Social learning, Brain evolution, Primates, Phylogenetic comparative analysis",
author = "Street, {Sally E.} and Navarrete, {Ana F.} and Reader, {Simon M.} and Laland, {Kevin N.}",
note = "Funding: European Research Council Advanced Grant “Evoculture” 232823 (K.N.L.), John Templeton Foundation Grant 23807 (K.N.L. and S.M.R.)",
year = "2017",
month = "7",
day = "25",
doi = "10.1073/pnas.1620734114",
language = "English",
volume = "114",
pages = "7908--7914",
journal = "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America",
issn = "0027-8424",
publisher = "National Academy of Sciences",
number = "30",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) - Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - Coevolution of cultural intelligence, extended life history, sociality, and brain size in primates

AU - Street, Sally E.

AU - Navarrete, Ana F.

AU - Reader, Simon M.

AU - Laland, Kevin N.

N1 - Funding: European Research Council Advanced Grant “Evoculture” 232823 (K.N.L.), John Templeton Foundation Grant 23807 (K.N.L. and S.M.R.)

PY - 2017/7/25

Y1 - 2017/7/25

N2 - Explanations for primate brain expansion and the evolution of human cognition and culture remain contentious despite extensive research. While multiple comparative analyses have investigated variation in brain size across primate species, very few have addressed why primates vary in how much they use social learning. Here, we evaluate the hypothesis that the enhanced reliance on socially transmitted behavior observed in some primates has coevolved with enlarged brains, complex sociality, and extended lifespans. Using recently developed phylogenetic comparative methods we show that, across primate species, a measure of social learning proclivity increases with absolute and relative brain volume, longevity (specifically reproductive lifespan), and social group size, correcting for research effort. We also confirm relationships of absolute and relative brain volume with longevity (both juvenile period and reproductive lifespan) and social group size, although longevity is generally the stronger predictor. Relationships between social learning, brain volume, and longevity remain when controlling for maternal investment and are therefore not simply explained as a by-product of the generally slower life history expected for larger brained species. Our findings suggest that both brain expansion and high reliance on culturally transmitted behavior coevolved with sociality and extended lifespan in primates. This coevolution is consistent with the hypothesis that the evolution of large brains, sociality, and long lifespans has promoted reliance on culture, with reliance on culture in turn driving further increases in brain volume, cognitive abilities, and lifespans in some primate lineages.

AB - Explanations for primate brain expansion and the evolution of human cognition and culture remain contentious despite extensive research. While multiple comparative analyses have investigated variation in brain size across primate species, very few have addressed why primates vary in how much they use social learning. Here, we evaluate the hypothesis that the enhanced reliance on socially transmitted behavior observed in some primates has coevolved with enlarged brains, complex sociality, and extended lifespans. Using recently developed phylogenetic comparative methods we show that, across primate species, a measure of social learning proclivity increases with absolute and relative brain volume, longevity (specifically reproductive lifespan), and social group size, correcting for research effort. We also confirm relationships of absolute and relative brain volume with longevity (both juvenile period and reproductive lifespan) and social group size, although longevity is generally the stronger predictor. Relationships between social learning, brain volume, and longevity remain when controlling for maternal investment and are therefore not simply explained as a by-product of the generally slower life history expected for larger brained species. Our findings suggest that both brain expansion and high reliance on culturally transmitted behavior coevolved with sociality and extended lifespan in primates. This coevolution is consistent with the hypothesis that the evolution of large brains, sociality, and long lifespans has promoted reliance on culture, with reliance on culture in turn driving further increases in brain volume, cognitive abilities, and lifespans in some primate lineages.

KW - Cultural evolution

KW - Social learning

KW - Brain evolution

KW - Primates

KW - Phylogenetic comparative analysis

U2 - 10.1073/pnas.1620734114

DO - 10.1073/pnas.1620734114

M3 - Article

VL - 114

SP - 7908

EP - 7914

JO - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

T2 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

JF - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

SN - 0027-8424

IS - 30

ER -

Related by author

  1. Social transmission favours the ‘morally good’ over the ‘merely arousing’

    Stubbersfield, J. M., Dean, L. G., Sheikh, S., Laland, K. N. & Cross, C. P., 4 Jun 2019, In : Palgrave Communications. 5, 11 p., 3.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. The reach of gene-culture coevolution in animals

    Whitehead, H., Laland, K. N., Rendell, L., Thorogood, R. & Whiten, A., 3 Jun 2019, In : Nature Communications. 10, 10 p., 2405.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  3. A four-questions perspective on public information use in sticklebacks (Gasterosteidae)

    Webster, M. M., Chouinard-Thuly, L., Herczeg, G., Kitano, J., Riley, R. J., Rogers, S., Shapiro, M. D., Shikano, T. & Laland, K. N., 20 Feb 2019, In : Royal Society Open Science. 6, 2, 24 p., 181735.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Social learning strategies regulate the wisdom and madness of interactive crowds

    Toyokawa, W., Whalen, A. & Laland, K. N., Feb 2019, In : Nature Human Behaviour. 3, p. 183-193

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Journal)

    Michael Martin Nevels (Guest editor)
    Jul 2016 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  2. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Journal)

    Oscar Eduardo Gaggiotti (Member of editorial board)
    1 Jan 2013 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Journal)

    Terry K Smith (Member of editorial board)
    2012 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  4. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Journal)

    Terry K Smith (Member of editorial board)
    2008 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  5. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Journal)

    Gareth Brian Miles (Reviewer)
    2006 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. Acute social isolation alters neurogenomic state in songbird forebrain

    George, J., Bell, Z., Condliffe, D., Doher, K., Abaurrea, T., Spencer, K., Leitao, A., Gahr, M., Hurd, P. & Clayton, D. F., 22 Jul 2019, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Latest Articles

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Asymmetries between achromatic and chromatic extraction of 3D motion signals

    Kaestner, M., Maloney, R., Wailes-Newson, K., Bloj, M., Harris, J., Morland, A. & Wade, A., 17 Jun 2019, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Latest Articles, 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Limited oxygen production in the Mesoarchean ocean

    Ossa Ossa, F., Hofmann, A., Spangenberg, J. E., Poulton, S. W., Stüeken, E. E., Schoenberg, R., Eickmann, B., Wille, M., Butler, M. & Bekker, A., 2 Apr 2019, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 116, 14, p. 6647-6652 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 250674914