Reduction of Brain and Sense Organs in the Fossil Insular Bovid MyotragusKöhler M. · Moyà-Solà S.
Institut de Paleontologia M.C., Sabadell, Spain
Our study of the fossil rupicaprine bovid Myotragus [Bate, 1909] from the Mediterranean island Majorca (Spain) provides evidence that this animal underwent significant changes (reduction) in the relative size of brain and sense organs after geographic isolation at the end of the Messinian Salinity Crisis (Miocene-Pliocene boundary, 5.2 Mya). The changes in the central nervous system of Myotragus parallel the pattern reported for domesticated animals, in which decrease in relative brain size is accompanied by a decrease in the relative size of their sense organs. We interpret the important size reduction of brain and sense organs in Myotragus as an adaptive strategy for more efficient energy use under the special environmental conditions of the insular ecosystem, characterized by absence of predation and limitation of trophic resources.
Institut de Paleontologia M.C.
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ES–08201 Sabadell (Spain)
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Received: March 11, 2003
Returned for revision: May 22, 2003
Accepted after revision: September 10, 2003
Published online: January 15, 2004
Number of Print Pages : 16
Number of Figures : 4, Number of Tables : 7, Number of References : 95
Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Founded 1968 and continued 1968–1986 by W. Riss, New York, N.Y.
Official Organ of the J.B. Johnston Club
Vol. 63, No. 3, Year 2004 (Cover Date: March 2004)
Journal Editor: Walter Wilczynski, Austin, Tex.
ISSN: 0006–8977 (print), 1421–9743 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/journals/bbe