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Chicken and junglefowl cerebellar anatomy data

Cite this dataset

Iwaniuk, Andrew (2021). Chicken and junglefowl cerebellar anatomy data [Dataset]. Dryad.


Domestication is the process by which wild organisms become adapted for human use. Many phenotypic changes are associated with animal domestication, including decreases in brain and brain region sizes. In contrast to this pattern, the chicken has a larger cerebellum compared with the wild red junglefowl, but what neuroanatomical changes are responsible for this difference have yet to be investigated. Here, we quantified cell layer volumes, neuron numbers and neuron sizes in the cerebella of chickens and junglefowl. Chickens have larger, more folded cerebella with more and larger granule cells than junglefowl, but neuron numbers and cerebellar folding were proportional to cerebellum size. However, chickens do have relatively larger granule cell layer volumes and relatively larger granule cells than junglefowl. Thus, the chicken cerebellum can be considered a scaled-up version of the junglefowl cerebellum, but with enlarged granule cells. The combination of scaling neuron number and disproportionate enlargement of cell bodies partially supports a recent theory that domestication does not affect neuronal density within brain regions. Whether the neuroanatomical changes we observed are typical of domestication or not requires similar quantitative analyses in other domesticated species and across multiple brain regions.


All of the data was collected from histological sections using unbiased stereology as outlined in the accompanying manuscript.


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council