London: Mammals with larger brains in relation to body size tend to have longer lives.
This finding is based on an analysis of about 500 mammal species by the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), affiliated to Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
The brain size of some mammals like chimps, gorillas, whales, dolphins and elephants are larger than expected for their body size, reports the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.
Scientists spent years probing why nature favours the development of large brains given that they require much more time to reach functional maturity and they use so much energy, said a centre release.
One of the classical explanations is the theory of Cognitive Buffer Hypothesis (CBH). It suggests that a larger brain provides more flexibility in behaviour when facing environmental changes and makes learning easier.
CREAF researchers César González-Lagos and Daniel Sol, together with Simon Reader of University McGill, Canada, conducted the research, reports the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.
Using statistical methods, the authors analysed data from 493 mammal species - from rodents and bats to cetaceans, felines, ungulates and marsupials and concluded that having a larger brain entails having a longer life.