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Data from: The effect of brain size evolution on feeding propensity, digestive efficiency and juvenile growth

Citation

Kotrschal, Alexander; Corral-Lopez, Alberto; Szidat, Sönke; Kolm, Niclas (2015), Data from: The effect of brain size evolution on feeding propensity, digestive efficiency and juvenile growth, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ns141

Abstract

One key hypothesis in the study of brain size evolution is the expensive tissue hypothesis; the idea that increased investment into the brain should be compensated by decreased investment into other costly organs, for instance the gut. While the hypothesis is supported by both comparative and experimental evidence, little is known about the potential changes in energetic requirements or digestive traits following such evolutionary shifts in brain and gut size. Organisms may meet the greater metabolic requirements of larger brains despite smaller guts via increased food intake or better digestion. But increased investment in the brain may also hamper somatic growth. To test these hypotheses we here used guppy (Poecilia reticulata) brain size selection lines with a pronounced negative association between brain and gut size and investigated feeding propensity, digestive efficiency, and juvenile growth rate. We did not find any difference in feeding propensity or digestive efficiency between large- and small-brained individuals. Instead, we found that large-brained females had slower growth during the first ten weeks after birth. Our study provides experimental support that investment into larger brains at the expense of gut tissue carries costs that are not necessarily compensated by a more efficient digestive system.

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