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Scientists Breed Big-Brained Guppies To Demonstrate Evolution's Trade-Offs 121

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have long suspected that big brains come with an evolutionary price — but now they've published the first experimental evidence to support that suspicion, based on their efforts to breed big-brained fish. A Swedish team found it relatively easy to select and interbreed common guppies to produce bigger (or smaller) brains — as much as 9.3 percent bigger, to be precise (abstract). But the bigger-brained fish also tended to have smaller guts and produce fewer babies."
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Scientists Breed Big-Brained Guppies To Demonstrate Evolution's Trade-Offs

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  • Re:Fringe benefits (Score:4, Informative)

    by mikael ( 484 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:39PM (#42481547)

    "In this paper, we describe a method of representing the US income tax declaration form in the form of a fish tank decorated with ornaments. We placed fish food at locations representing sources of income, while taxes were represented by obstacles in the form of fish tank ornaments. The statistical average time taken by the fish to feed determined the final amount of tax due."

  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Friday January 04, 2013 @06:54PM (#42481779) Journal

    Actually still evolution. The natural environment of these guppies changed from a tank in a pet store to a tank that happened to be in a lab filled with apes who like to kill small brained guppies for their own amusement (or some other reason, who can say why white coated apes do what they do). Through random mutation some guppies had larger brains. Because of the selection pressure in this new environment those guppies tended to survive to produce offspring while the predator killed their smaller brained counterparts.

    Same shit different day. Replace the apes in coats with some other environment change that favors big brained guppies and kills off the dumb ones and the result would be pretty much the same. Guppies have no magical sixth sense that tells them to do something genetically different in the presence of guppy slaying apes than guppy slaying anything that isn't apes.

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