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IBL Spotlights - Evolution& Biodiversity

Thursday 1 December 2022
IBL Spotlights
Sylvius building, room 1.5.31

We would like to invite you to join the Spotlight with Karline Janmaat, since September 2020, Karline Janmaat is an Endowed Professor by special appointment in Cognitive Behavioural Ecology at the Cognitive Psychology Section of the Institute of Psychology, the Institute of Biology and Artis. The spotlight will take place at the Sylvius building in the big lecture room (1.5.31). After the lecture, you are all invited to a reception on the first floor of the Sylvius.


15:30  Prof. dr. K.R.L. Janmaat | UvA | Artis | LU
Title:    The roots and Fruits of our Primate Brain Foraging Cognition in large-brained Rainforest Primates  
Despite appealing support for theories that argue that social complexity is the main force driving primate brain size evolution, it is still unclear how great apes, were able to afford the evolution of larger and more expensive brains than sympatric species. Comparative studies suggest that the costs of evolutionary brain enlargement were overcome by a permanent increase in net energy intake, renewing interest in the role of ecological complexity in primate brain size evolution. As relatively larger-brained primates, like great apes, show less seasonality in their net energy intake than smaller-brained species, larger brains are proposed to provide a “cognitive behavioral flexibility” that facilitates the consumption of nutritious foods during food scarce periods (cognitive buffer hypothesis; van Woerden et al. 2012).  To date, it remains unclear what this cognitive flexibility entails. In this presentation, I will provide evidence for a variety of cognitive skills that larger-brained non-human primates can use to gain first access to newly ripened energy-rich fruit in a competitive and complex rainforest environment. Finally, I will address the potential of complementing behavioural studies on zoo-based primates. How they can help us to 1) compare biases in information use (irrational behaviours) and 2) gain insight into factors that influence the development of cognitive abilities.

16:30    Reception

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