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Living in Societies , Science
Excerpts: An awareness of one's position and the relationships of others
in a group is a rarity among vertebrate species, yet it has proved so
spectacularly influential in just one species--our own--that it has become
a major factor in determining the ecology of an entire planet. Although we
can describe behavior patterns and speculate about their evolutionary
advantage, we also need to understand their contribution to a species'
reproductive success. A new wave of research is investigating the primate
social brain within this evolutionary context, often through studies of
*  Living in Societies, Caroline Ash, Gilbert Chin, Elizabeth Pennisi,
Andrew Sugden, 07/09/07, Science: 1337.
Evolution in the Social Brain , Science
Excerpts: The evolution of unusually large brains in some groups of
animals, notably primates, has long been a puzzle. Although early
explanations tended to emphasize the brain's role in sensory or technical
competence (foraging skills, innovations, and way-finding), the balance of
evidence now clearly favors the suggestion that it was the computational
demands of living in large, complex societies that selected for large
brains. However, recent analyses suggest that it may have been the
particular demands of the more intense forms of pairbonding that was the
critical factor that triggered this evolutionary development.
*  Evolution in the Social Brain, R. I. M. Dunbar, Susanne Shultz,
07/09/07, Science: 1344-1347.
Social Components of Fitness in Primate Groups , Science
Excerpts: There is much interest in the evolutionary forces that favored
the evolution of large brains in the primate order. The social brain
hypothesis posits that selection has favored larger brains and more
complex cognitive capacities as a means to cope with the challenges of
social life. The hypothesis is supported by evidence that shows that group
size is linked to various measures of brain size. But it has not been
clear how cognitive complexity confers fitness advantages on individuals.
Research in the field and laboratory shows that sophisticated social
cognition underlies social behavior in primate groups.
*  Social Components of Fitness in Primate Groups, Joan B. Silk,
07/09/07, DOI: 10.1126/science.1140734, Science: Vol. 317. no. 5843, pp.
1347 - 1351
Socially Induced Brain Differentiation In A Cooperatively Breeding
Songbird , Proc. Biol. Sc.
Excerpt: Birds living in social groups establish dominance hierarchies,
and taking up the dominant position influences behaviour and physiological
parameters. In cooperatively breeding white-browed sparrow weavers
(Plocepasser mahali), the transition from subordinate helper to dominant
breeder male induces the production of a new type of song. This song
contains a large number of new syllables and differs in temporal pattern
from duet songs produced by all other group members. Here we show that
this change in social status of adult males affects the morphology of a
behavioural control circuit, the song control system of songbirds that is
composed of large neuron populations. (...)
*  Socially Induced Brain Differentiation In A Cooperatively Breeding
Songbird, C. Voigt , S. Leitner , M. Gahr, 2007/09/04, DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2007.0858, Proceedings B: Biological Sciences
The Wealth Of Nations - A Country's Competitive Edge Can Spread Industry
To Industry, Like A Disease , Science News
Excerpts: HIDDEN LINKS. In the product space network above, nodes
represent products. The more closely products are linked, the more likely
they are to be produced and exported by the same countries. Each node's
size represents the total world trade in that product, and the nodes'
colors follow an older classification of products. Hidalgo/Science By
analyzing global export data on numerous categories of goods, the two
economists calculated, for each pair of categories, the probability that
if a country is good at exporting one type of product, it will also be
good at exporting the other. When that probability is high, those two
products have a short "distance" between them. When the probability is
low, the products are far apart. (...) Instead, the map shows how
industries gather in clusters according to how likely it is that that
those industries thrive in the same countries. (...)
*  The Wealth Of Nations - A Country's Competitive Edge Can Spread
Industry To Industry, Like A Disease, Davide Castelvecchi, 07/09/01,
Science News  http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20070901/bob9.asp
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