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Brain Behav Evol. 2000 Oct;56(4):196-203.

Relative size of the hyperstriatum ventrale is the best predictor of feeding innovation rate in birds.

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Department of Biology, McGill University, Montréal, Qué., Canada.


Within the avian telencephalon, the dorsal ventricular ridge (DVR) contains higher order and multimodal integration areas. Using multiple regressions on 17 avian taxa, we show that an operational estimate of behavioral flexibility, the frequency of feeding innovation reports in ornithology journals, is most closely predicted by relative size of one of these DVR areas, the hyperstriatum ventrale. Neither phylogeny, juvenile development mode, nor species sampled account for the relationship. Similar results are found when the hyperstriatum ventrale is lumped with a second DVR structure, the neostriatum. In simple correlations, size of the wulst and the striatopallidal complex is associated with feeding innovation rate, but the two structures are eliminated from the multiple regressions. Our results parallel those on primates showing a correlation between innovation rate and neocortex size and support the idea that the mammalian neocortex and the neostriatum-hyperstriatum ventrale complex in birds have similar integrative roles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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