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Brain Weight and Life-Span in Primate Species

Allman, John and McLaughlin, Todd and Hakeem, Atiya (1993) Brain Weight and Life-Span in Primate Species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 90 (1). pp. 118-122. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC45611. doi:10.1073/pnas.90.1.118.

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In haplorhine primates (tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans), there is a significant correlation between brain weight and maximum life-span when the effect of body size is removed. There is also a significant correlation in haplorhine primates between brain weight and female age at first reproduction. For strepsirhine primates (lorises and lemurs), there are no significant correlations between brain weight and either life-span or female reproductive age when the effect of body size is removed. This lack of correlation in strepsirhine primates may be related to the fact that these primates are nocturnal and/or natives of the island of Madagascar, both of which conditions may reduce competition for resources and predation pressure. These findings suggest that in haplorhine primates the genetic systems controlling brain growth are linked to the systems governing the life cycle so that species with longer cycles have larger brains. When the effect of body weight is removed, leaf-eating haplorhines have significantly smaller brains and shorter lives than haplorhines with other diets. Harem-living haplorhines also have significantly smaller brains and shorter life-spans than troop-living haplorhines when the effect of body weight is removed. We also sought to test the rate-of-living hypothesis by determining whether primates with basal metabolic rates that are higher than would be expected for their body size have shorter maximum life-spans than would be expected for their body size. Metabolic rate is not correlated with life-span or female age at first reproduction when the effect of body size is removed.

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Additional Information:© 1993 by the National Academy of Sciences Communicated by Carver A. Mead, September 23, 1992 We thank the 138 zoos and research institutions who kindly provided us primate life-span data, and especially Mr. Marvin Jones, registrar of the Zoological Society of San Diego. We thank Prof. Bob Martin for kindly providing us his unpublished data base of neonatal and adult body and brain weights, gestation lengths, and basal metabolic rates. We thank Mr. Christopher Alexander for his valuable assistance in compiling the data and statistical analysis, and Mr. Ralph Adolphs for his useful comments on the manuscript. We thank Ms. Yuka Yonebayashi arid Prof. Mark Konishi for translating longevity records from the Japanese Primate Center. We thank the Duke Primate Center for providing life-span information for Cheirogaleus medius, Lemur variegata, and Propithecus verreauxi. Support for this research was provided by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program and by grants from the National Institute on Aging, and the McDonnell-Pew Program in Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Hixon Professorship to J.A. The publication costs of this article were defrayed in part by page charge payment. This article must therefore be hereby marked "advertisement" in accordance with 18 U.S.C. §1734 solely to indicate this fact.
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Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
McDonnell-Pew Program in Cognitive NeuroscienceUNSPECIFIED
Hixson Professorship, CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:1
PubMed Central ID:PMC45611
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:ALLpnas93c
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1275
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:07 Jan 2006
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 19:09

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