Tags

Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter

Extended parenting and the evolution of cognition.
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2020 Jul 20; 375(1803):20190495.PT

Abstract

Traditional attempts to understand the evolution of human cognition compare humans with other primates. This research showed that relative brain size covaries with cognitive skills, while adaptations that buffer the developmental and energetic costs of large brains (e.g. allomaternal care), and ecological or social benefits of cognitive abilities, are critical for their evolution. To understand the drivers of cognitive adaptations, it is profitable to consider distant lineages with convergently evolved cognitions. Here, we examine the facilitators of cognitive evolution in corvid birds, where some species display cultural learning, with an emphasis on family life. We propose that extended parenting (protracted parent-offspring association) is pivotal in the evolution of cognition: it combines critical life-history, social and ecological conditions allowing for the development and maintenance of cognitive skillsets that confer fitness benefits to individuals. This novel hypothesis complements the extended childhood idea by considering the parents' role in juvenile development. Using phylogenetic comparative analyses, we show that corvids have larger body sizes, longer development times, extended parenting and larger relative brain sizes than other passerines. Case studies from two corvid species with different ecologies and social systems highlight the critical role of life-history features on juveniles' cognitive development: extended parenting provides a safe haven, access to tolerant role models, reliable learning opportunities and food, resulting in higher survival. The benefits of extended juvenile learning periods, over evolutionary time, lead to selection for expanded cognitive skillsets. Similarly, in our ancestors, cooperative breeding and increased group sizes facilitated learning and teaching. Our analyses highlight the critical role of life-history, ecological and social factors that underlie both extended parenting and expanded cognitive skillsets. This article is part of the theme issue 'Life history and learning: how childhood, caregiving and old age shape cognition and culture in humans and other animals'.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Kahlaische Strasse 10, Jena, Germany.Independent Researcher, UK (jo.fairlie1@btinternet.com).Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Kahlaische Strasse 10, Jena, Germany. School of Psychology, University of Auckland, 23 Symonds Street, Auckland 1010, New Zealand.State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, Department of Ecology and School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, People's Republic of China. Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstrasse 10, 78457 Konstanz, Germany.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

32475334

Citation

Uomini, Natalie, et al. "Extended Parenting and the Evolution of Cognition." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, vol. 375, no. 1803, 2020, p. 20190495.
Uomini N, Fairlie J, Gray RD, et al. Extended parenting and the evolution of cognition. Philos Trans R Soc Lond, B, Biol Sci. 2020;375(1803):20190495.
Uomini, N., Fairlie, J., Gray, R. D., & Griesser, M. (2020). Extended parenting and the evolution of cognition. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 375(1803), 20190495. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0495
Uomini N, et al. Extended Parenting and the Evolution of Cognition. Philos Trans R Soc Lond, B, Biol Sci. 2020 Jul 20;375(1803):20190495. PubMed PMID: 32475334.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Extended parenting and the evolution of cognition. AU - Uomini,Natalie, AU - Fairlie,Joanna, AU - Gray,Russell D, AU - Griesser,Michael, Y1 - 2020/06/01/ PY - 2021/07/20/pmc-release PY - 2020/6/2/entrez PY - 2020/6/2/pubmed PY - 2020/6/2/medline KW - New Caledonian crows KW - Siberian jays KW - cognitive evolution KW - corvidae KW - parenting KW - social learning SP - 20190495 EP - 20190495 JF - Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences JO - Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. VL - 375 IS - 1803 N2 - Traditional attempts to understand the evolution of human cognition compare humans with other primates. This research showed that relative brain size covaries with cognitive skills, while adaptations that buffer the developmental and energetic costs of large brains (e.g. allomaternal care), and ecological or social benefits of cognitive abilities, are critical for their evolution. To understand the drivers of cognitive adaptations, it is profitable to consider distant lineages with convergently evolved cognitions. Here, we examine the facilitators of cognitive evolution in corvid birds, where some species display cultural learning, with an emphasis on family life. We propose that extended parenting (protracted parent-offspring association) is pivotal in the evolution of cognition: it combines critical life-history, social and ecological conditions allowing for the development and maintenance of cognitive skillsets that confer fitness benefits to individuals. This novel hypothesis complements the extended childhood idea by considering the parents' role in juvenile development. Using phylogenetic comparative analyses, we show that corvids have larger body sizes, longer development times, extended parenting and larger relative brain sizes than other passerines. Case studies from two corvid species with different ecologies and social systems highlight the critical role of life-history features on juveniles' cognitive development: extended parenting provides a safe haven, access to tolerant role models, reliable learning opportunities and food, resulting in higher survival. The benefits of extended juvenile learning periods, over evolutionary time, lead to selection for expanded cognitive skillsets. Similarly, in our ancestors, cooperative breeding and increased group sizes facilitated learning and teaching. Our analyses highlight the critical role of life-history, ecological and social factors that underlie both extended parenting and expanded cognitive skillsets. This article is part of the theme issue 'Life history and learning: how childhood, caregiving and old age shape cognition and culture in humans and other animals'. SN - 1471-2970 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/32475334/Extended_parenting_and_the_evolution_of_cognition L2 - https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rstb.2019.0495?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -
Try the Free App:
Prime PubMed app for iOS iPhone iPad
Prime PubMed app for Android
Prime PubMed is provided
free to individuals by:
Unbound Medicine.