Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

The coevolution of innovation and technical intelligence in primates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Ana Francisca Navarrete Rodriguez, Simon M. Reader, Sally E. Street, Andrew Whalen, Kevin N. Laland

School/Research organisations

Abstract

In birds and primates, the frequency of behavioural innovation has been shown to covary with absolute and relative brain size, leading to the suggestion that large brains allow animals to innovate, and/or that selection for innovativeness, together with social learning, may have driven brain enlargement. We examined the relationship between primate brain size and both technical (i.e. tool using) and non-technical innovation, deploying a combination of phylogenetically informed regression and exploratory causal graph analyses. Regression analyses revealed that absolute and relative brain size correlated positively with technical innovation, and exhibited consistently weaker, but still positive, relationships with non-technical innovation. These findings mirror similar results in birds. Our exploratory causal graph analyses suggested that technical innovation shares strong direct relationships with brain size, body size, social learning rate and social group size, whereas non-technical innovation did not exhibit a direct relationship with brain size. Nonetheless, non-technical innovation was linked to brain size indirectly via diet and life-history variables. Our findings support ‘technical intelligence’ hypotheses in linking technical innovation to encephalization in the restricted set of primate lineages where technical innovation has been reported. Our findings also provide support for a broad co-evolving complex of brain, behaviour, life-history, social and dietary variables, providing secondary support for social and ecological intelligence hypotheses. The ability to gain access to difficult-to-extract, but potentially nutrient-rich, resources through tool use may have conferred on some primates adaptive advantages, leading to selection for brain circuitry that underlies technical proficiency.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number20150186
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume371
Issue number1690
Early online date29 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

    Research areas

  • Innovation, Social learning, Tool use, Intelligence, Primate cognition, Brain evolution

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

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 Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

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

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

  2. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Kate Arnold (Reviewer)
    2012 → …

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

  3. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Michael Gordon Ritchie (Editor)
    20102011

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

  4. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Member of editorial board)
    2009 → …

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

  5. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Iain McCombe Matthews (Editor)
    2008 → …

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

Related by journal

  1. Advances in research on the impacts of anti-submarine sonar on beaked whales

    Bernaldo De Quirós, Y., Fernandez, A., Baird, R. W., Brownell, R. L., Aguilar De Soto, N., Allen, D., Arbelo, M., Arregui, M., Costidis, A., Fahlman, A., Frantzis, A., Gulland, F. M. D., Iñíguez, M., Johnson, M., Komnenou, A., Koopman, H., Pabst, D. A., Roe, W. D., Sierra, E., Tejedor, M. & 1 othersSchorr, G., 30 Jan 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1895, 20182533.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. Linguistic laws in chimpanzee gestural communication

    Heesen, R., Hobaiter, C., Ferrer-i-Cancho, R. & Semple, S., 13 Feb 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1896

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Northern bottlenose whales in a pristine environment respond strongly to close and distant navy sonar signals

    Wensveen, P. J., Isojunno, S., Hansen, R. R., Von Benda-beckmann, A. M., Kleivane, L., Van Ijsselmuide, S., Lam, F. A., Kvadsheim, P. H., Deruiter, S. L., Curé, C., Narazaki, T., Tyack, P. L. & Miller, P. J. O., 20 Mar 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1899, 10 p., 20182592.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Release from intralocus sexual conflict? Evolved loss of a male sexual trait demasculinizes female gene expression

    Rayner, J., Pascoal, S. C. M. & Bailey, N. W., 17 Apr 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1901, 8 p., 20190497.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. The decision to move: response times, neuronal circuits and sensory memory in a simple vertebrate

    Roberts, A., Borisyuk, R., Buhl, E., Ferrario, A., Koutsikou, S., Li, W-C. & Soffe, S. R., Mar 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1899, 7 p., 20190297.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

ID: 241575040