Bigger brains do not always mean more smarts, research shows

Researchers say the ‘big equals smart’ assumption may not always be the case, Chantal da Silva reports

Sunday 02 May 2021 13:32
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A California sea lion yearling walks towards the water after being released back into the wild by volunteers with The Marine Mammal Center on a beach at Point Lobos State Reserve on 10 July, 2019 in Carmel, California. California sea lions are more intelligent than their brain size might suggest.
A California sea lion yearling walks towards the water after being released back into the wild by volunteers with The Marine Mammal Center on a beach at Point Lobos State Reserve on 10 July, 2019 in Carmel, California. California sea lions are more intelligent than their brain size might suggest.

Does having a bigger brain mean having more intelligence? Not necessarily, a new study has found.

Published on Thursday in Science Advances, new research shows that the relationship between larger brains and “intelligence” in mammalian evolution is not as clear-cut as one might think.

In evolutionary science, mammals are typically considered big-brained “when their brain volume is large relative to their body mass,” Vera Weisbecker and Jeroen Smaers, two of the researchers behind the new study, wrote in an article for The Conversation on Thursday.

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