The hunger games

Why do primates have big brains? In the Panamanian rainforest, scientists pitted large-brained primates against smaller-brained mammals to find out who was the smartest forager

The study tracked four fruit-eating species in the rainforest as they solved the
The study tracked four fruit-eating species in the rainforest as they solved the same food-finding puzzle © Hirsch et al. Proc B 2024

Primates, including humans, have larger brains than most other mammals, but why? Scientists searching for the answer have long followed a trail pointing to diet-specifically fruit-as the reason for why primates evolved larger brains. A team from the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and the Smithsonian Institute of Tropical Research tested this idea for the first time-finding that the fruit-diet theory might be out of juice. ...

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