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Latest Sean O'Donnell Stories

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2011-04-12 11:16:30

Across many groups of animals, species with bigger brains often have better cognitive abilities. But it's been unclear whether overall brain size or the size of specific brain areas is the key. New findings by neurobiologists at the University of Washington suggest that both patterns are important. The researchers found that bigger-bodied social wasps had larger brains and devoted up to three times more of their brain tissue to regions that coordinate social interactions, learning, memory and...

2009-10-15 07:47:53

For an animal that has a brain about the size of two grains of sand, a lot of plasticity seems to be packed into the head of the tropical paper wasp Polybia aequatorialis. Researchers from the universities of Washington and Texas have found that the brain architecture of these wasps undergoes dramatic changes as they cycle through a sequence of specialized jobs during their lives. The scientists previously had discovered that parts of the brains of this wasp species enlarged as the animal...

2009-06-23 16:17:49

Scientists trying to understand how the brains of animals evolve have found that evolutionary changes in brain structure reflect the types of social interactions and environmental stimuli different species face.The study is the first to compare multiple species of related animals, in this case social wasps, to look at how roles of individuals in a society might affect brain architecture. The research looks at brain structure differences between species, asking how the size of different brain...

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2008-03-11 18:00:23

Which came first, social dominance or big brains? Wasps may tell There's new evidence supporting the idea that bigger brains are better. A study of a tropical wasp suggests that the brainpower required to be dominant drives brain capacity. University of Washington researchers have found that key processing regions in the brains of both males and females of one wasp species not only increased in size with age but were also associated with being dominant. The study also showed different...


Word of the Day
lunula
  • A small crescent-shaped structure or marking, especially the white area at the base of a fingernail that resembles a half-moon.
This word is a diminutive of the Latin 'luna,' moon.
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