Interesting piece on how birds with bigger brains may be more adept at avoiding getting shot.
The scientists, led by Dr Anders Moller, from the University of South Paris, France, wrote in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters: ‘The findings reported here have a number of implications for studies of brain size.
’First, hunted and protected populations of the same species should differ in brain mass with the former having larger brains.
’Second, we also hypothesise that if there are costs associated with an increase of brain size in hunted species, such as increased metabolic costs or increased use of antioxidants during brain development, this could potentially change the bias in brain mass in hunted compared to protected species.
’In conclusion, hunting selects for increased brain mass in birds, and this effect is independent of a number of potentially confounding variables, such as age, body condition, sex and body mass.’
I have long had a related theory about deer. At this point woudn’t you expect that car accidents would be naturally weeding out deer that don’t know how to dodge or avoid traffic?
Of course, the real concern is when the super-intelligent birds join forces with the deer to wage a pitch battle for control of planet earth. But I think that will be awhile.