Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Does hippocampal size correlate with the degree of caching specialization?

  • J R Lucas
  • Anders Brodin
  • S R de Kort
  • N S Clayton
Publishing year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 2423-2429
Publication/Series: Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Volume: 271
Issue: 1556
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Royal Society

Abstract english

A correlation between the degree of specialization for food hoarding and the volume of the hippocampal formation in passerine birds has been accepted for over a decade. The relationship was first demonstrated in family-level comparisons, and subsequently in species comparisons within two families containing a large number of hoarding species, the Corvidae and the Paridae. Recently, this approach has been criticized as invalid and excessively adaptationist. A recent test of the predicted trends with data pooled from previous studies found no evidence for such a correlation in either of these two families. This result has been interpreted as support for the critique. Here we reanalyse the original dataset and also include additional new data on several parid species. Our results show a surprising difference between continents, with North American species possessing significantly smaller hippocampi than Eurasian ones. Controlling for the continent effect makes the hoarding capacity/hippocampal formation correlation clearly significant in both families. We discuss possible reasons for the continent effect.


  • Biological Sciences


  • ISSN: 1471-2954
Anders Brodin
E-mail: anders [dot] brodin [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Evolutionary ecology

+46 46 222 41 43

+46 73 687 75 98



Work environment coordinator

Department of Biology


Research group

Theoretical Population Ecology and Evolution Group


Doctoral Students and Postdocs