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The factors leading to the evolution of large brain size remain controversial. Brains are metabolically expensive and larger brains demand higher maintenance costs. The expensive-tissue hypothesis suggests that when selection favors larger brains, evolutionary changes in brain size can occur without an overall increase in energetic costs when brain size(More)
Harsh environments and severe winters have been hypothesized to favor improvement of the cognitive abilities necessary for successful foraging. Geographic variation in winter climate, then, is likely associated with differences in selection pressures on cognitive ability, which could lead to evolutionary changes in cognition and its neural mechanisms,(More)
Harsh and unpredictable environments have been assumed to favor the evolution of better learning abilities in animals. At the same time, individual variation in learning abilities might be associated with variation in other correlated traits potentially forming a behavioral syndrome. We have previously reported significant elevation-related differences in(More)
Animals inhabiting challenging and harsh environments are expected to benefit from certain phenotypic traits including cognitive abilities. In particular, innovation and habituation are traits thought to benefit animals in challenging environments and increase individual’s probability of survival via increased foraging success. Here, we tested whether(More)
Song in songbirds is widely thought to function in mate choice and male-male competition. Song is also phenotypically plastic and typically learned from local adults; therefore, it varies across geographical space and can serve as a cue for an individual's location of origin, with females commonly preferring males from their respective location.(More)
Montane habitats are characterized by predictably rapid heterogeneity along elevational gradients and are useful for investigating the consequences of environmental heterogeneity for local adaptation and population genetic structure. Food-caching mountain chickadees inhabit a continuous elevation gradient in the Sierra Nevada, and birds living at harsher,(More)
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