Size and Scaling in Primate Biology

Part of the series Advances in Primatology pp 115-146

Allometric Considerations of the Adult Mammalian Brain, with Special Emphasis on Primates

  • Este ArmstrongAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy, Louisiana State University Medical Center

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Allometric studies of the brain investigate differences in the size of the total brain or its subdivisions and associate those differences with the size of the organism or, for its parts, with the size of the brain. Two quantitative features are examined in these studies: (1) the intercepts, or how big a part is in relation to the whole, and (2) the slope, or how the two features scale together. Over the past 100 years comparisons of adult vertebrates have demonstrated that taxonomic groups differ according to the amount of brain per body weight and that brain weights do not show as much enlargement as do body weights (negative allometry). Although many studies have covered all vertebrates, only mammalian data will be discussed in this review.