Birds With Bigger Brains Are Less Likely To Get Shot, Says Study

Posted: Nov 3 2016, 1:46pm CDT | by , Updated: Nov 5 2016, 11:30am CDT , in Latest Science News


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Birds with Bigger Brains are Less Likely to Get Shot, Says Study
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Research says that big-brained birds are smarter and they have likey found ways to escape the hunters.

Big-brained birds are hard to knock down. According to new research, birds with bigger brains are more likely to survive a hunter’s shot compared to the birds with small brains, probably suggesting that big birds may have learned ways to escape the guns. The findings may have implications for outlining conservation strategies as many bird species are heading towards extinction due to hunting - either for meat or recreational purposes.

Each year, hundreds of millions of birds are killed by hunters. In the new study, a pair of researchers; evolutionary biologist Anders Moller and ornithologist Johannes Erritzøe, attempted to understand whether hunting had any evolutionary impact on various bird species. To find out, researchers looked at database used by taxidermists in Denmark. Danish law requires taxidermists to record the specifics of every specimen they deal with.

The statistics were based on 3781 birds from 197 varying species killed between 1960 and 2015. Researchers found that birds with smaller brains (relative to the size of their bodies) were more documented than birds with bigger brains. This means that small-brained birds were more killed by hunters over the years.

Researchers had considered several factors such as organ size, body mass, gender, species and color etc but one factor that stood out very clearly from the rest was the size of the brain. Researchers found that birds with larger brains were 30 times less likely to survive shot. This, according to the study researchers is an indication that hunting is very likely having an evolutionary impact on animals or birds targeted by humans. Researchers have ruled out the possibility that hunters specifically look for smaller birds rather bigger ones.

The results, however, are by no means definitive. Further research is needed to understand the notion described in the study. The findings also raises question over linking the evolution of brain size with just one factor.

“The study is intriguing, but I will remain a bit skeptical because it is based on a comparative long-term data set and not an experiment,” said Jesper Madsen, a population ecologist at Aarhaus University in Rønde, Denmark, who was not involved in the study.

“To conclude that hunting selects for larger brain requires more than a correlational study.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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