Eli M. Swanson

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Mammalian brain volumes vary considerably, even after controlling for body size. Although several hypotheses have been proposed to explain this variation, most research in mammals on the evolution of encephalization has focused on primates, leaving the generality of these explanations uncertain. Furthermore, much research still addresses only one hypothesis(More)
Life-history traits describe parameters associated with growth, size, survival, and reproduction. Life-history variation is a hallmark of biological diversity, yet researchers commonly observe that one of the major axes of life-history variation after controlling for body size involves trade-offs among growth, reproduction, and longevity. This persistent(More)
Despite considerable interest in the forces shaping the relationship between brain size and cognitive abilities, it remains controversial whether larger-brained animals are, indeed, better problem-solvers. Recently, several comparative studies have revealed correlations between brain size and traits thought to require advanced cognitive abilities, such as(More)
We suggest that variation in mammalian behavioural flexibility not accounted for by current socioecological models may be explained in part by developmental constraints. From our own work, we provide examples of constraints affecting variation in behavioural flexibility, not only among individuals, but also among species and higher taxonomic units. We first(More)
Despite the diversity of mammalian life histories, persistent patterns of covariation have been identified, such as the 'fast-slow' axis of life-history covariation. Smaller species generally exhibit 'faster' life histories, developing and reproducing rapidly, but dying young. Hormonal mechanisms with pleiotropic effects may mediate such broad patterns of(More)
Macro-evolutionary comparisons are a valued tool in evolutionary biology. Nevertheless, our understanding of how systems involved in molecular signaling change in concert with phenotypic diversification has lagged. We argue that integrating our understanding of the evolution of molecular signaling systems with phylogenetic comparative methods is an(More)
Size-related traits are common targets of natural selection, yet there is a relative paucity of data on selection among mammals, particularly from studies measuring lifetime reproductive success (LRS). We present the first phenotypic selection analysis using LRS on size-related traits in a large terrestrial carnivore, the spotted hyena, which displays a(More)
Morphological scaling relationships between organ and body size-also known as allometries-describe the shape of a species, and the evolution of such scaling relationships is central to the generation of morphological diversity. Despite extensive modeling and empirical tests, however, the modes of selection that generate changes in scaling remain largely(More)
Nutrition is a key component of life-history theory, yet we know little about how diet quality shapes life-history evolution across species. Here, we test whether quantitative measures of nutrition are linked to life-history evolution across 96 species of butterflies representing over 50 independent diet shifts. We find that butterflies feeding on high(More)
SYNOPSIS Hormonal pleiotropy occurs when a part of the endocrine system (e.g., hormone concentrations) influences the expression of two or more phenotypes. Although hormonal pleiotropy may have similar evolutionary consequences as genetic pleiotropy, most conceptual and empirical work on its putative evolutionary consequences to date has focused on(More)
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