Robert Barton

Robert Barton
Durham University | DU · Department of Anthropology

About

134
Publications
53,599
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7,792
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 1989 - September 1992
The University of Sheffield
Position
  • Lecturer
October 1984 - September 1989
University of St Andrews
Position
  • PhD student & lecturer

Publications

Publications (134)
Article
Investigations into the evolution of the primate brain have tended to neglect the role of connectivity in determining which brain structures have changed in size, focusing instead on changes in the size of the whole brain or of individual brain structures, such as the neocortex, in isolation. We show that the primate cerebellum, neocortex, vestibul...
Article
Full-text available
The anthropoid primates are known for their intense sociality and large brain size. The idea that these might be causally related has given rise to a large body of work testing the ‘social brain hypothesis'. Here, the emphasis has been placed on the political demands of social life, and the cognitive skills that would enable animals to track the ma...
Article
Full-text available
Perceptions of physical attractiveness vary across cultural groups, particularly for female body size and shape. It has been hypothesized that visual media propagates Western "thin ideals." However, because cross-cultural studies typically consider groups highly differentiated on a number of factors, identifying the causal factors has thus far been...
Article
Life history is a robust correlate of relative brain size: larger-brained mammals and birds have slower life histories and longer lifespans than smaller-brained species. The cognitive buffer hypothesis (CBH) proposes an adaptive explanation for this relationship: large brains may permit greater behavioural flexibility and thereby buffer the animal...
Article
Full-text available
While the human brain is clearly large relative to body size, less is known about the timing of brain and brain component expansion within primates and the relative magnitude of volumetric increases. Using Bayesian phylogenetic comparative methods and data for both extant and fossil species, we identified that a distinct shift in brain-body scaling...
Preprint
Life history is a robust correlate of relative brain size: large-brained mammals and birds have slower life histories and longer lifespans than smaller-brained species. One influential adaptive hypothesis to account for this finding is the Cognitive Buffer Hypothesis (CBH). The CBH proposes that large brains permit greater behavioural flexibility a...
Article
Full-text available
There is ongoing debate about how and why the menstrual cycle affects women's attraction to men. According to the dual sexuality hypothesis, women form pair-bond relationships with men who provide care but also obtain genetic benefits by biasing mating effort towards men with high-fitness genes during the fertile phase. By contrast, the commitment...
Article
Comparative studies have identified a wide range of behavioural and ecological correlates of relative brain size, with results differing between taxonomic groups, and even within them. In primates for example, recent studies contradict one another over whether social or ecological factors are critical. A basic assumption of such studies is that wit...
Article
Full-text available
Television consumption influences perceptions of attractive female body size. However, cross-cultural research examining media influence on body ideals is typically confounded by differences in the availability of reliable and diverse foodstuffs. 112 participants were recruited from 3 Nicaraguan villages that differed in television consumption and...
Article
Burkart et al. conflate the domain-specificity of cognitive processes with the statistical pattern of variance in behavioural measures that partly reflect those processes. General intelligence is a statistical abstraction, not a cognitive trait, and we argue that the former does not warrant inferences about the nature or evolution of the latter.
Article
Recent decades have seen rapid development of new analytical methods to investigate patterns of interspecific variation. Yet these cutting-edge statistical analyses often rely on data of questionable origin, varying accuracy, and weak comparability, which seem to have reduced the reproducibility of studies. It is time to improve the transparency of...
Article
Phenotypic traits are products of two processes: evolution and development. But how do these processes combine to produce integrated phenotypes? Comparative studies identify consistent patterns of covariation, or allometries, between brain and body size, and between brain components, indicating the presence of significant constraints limiting indep...
Article
Phenotypic traits are products of two processes: evolution and development. But how do these processes combine to produce integrated phenotypes? Comparative studies identify consistent patterns of covariation, or allometries, between brain and body size, and between brain components, indicating the presence of significant constraints limiting indep...
Article
Full-text available
Internalization of a thin ideal has been posited as a key risk factor in the development of pathological eating attitudes. Cross-culturally, studies have found a preference for heavier bodies in populations with reduced access to visual media compared to Western populations. As yet, however, there has been little attempt to control for confounding...
Article
Full-text available
Placental invasiveness—the number of maternal tissue layers separating fetal tissues from maternal blood—is variable across mammalian species. Although this diversity is likely to be functionally important, variation in placental invasiveness remains unexplained. Here we test the hypothesis that increased risk of transplacental transmission of path...
Article
Full-text available
The presence and intensity of red coloration correlate with male dominance and testosterone in a variety of animal species, and even artificial red stimuli can influence dominance interactions. In humans, red stimuli are perceived as more threatening and dominant than other colours, and wearing red increases the probability of winning sporting cont...
Article
Full-text available
Prenatal androgens are responsible for sex differences in behaviour and morphology in many species, causing changes in neural structure and function that persist throughout life. Some variation in the expression of behaviour between individuals of the same sex can also be attributed to differences in exposure to prenatal sex hormones. The ratio of...
Article
Full-text available
Primate comparative anatomy is an established field that has made rich and substantial contributions to neuroscience. However, the labor-intensive techniques employed mean that most comparisons are often based on a small number of species, which limits the conclusions that can be drawn. In this review we explore how new developments in magnetic res...
Article
Humans’ unique cognitive abilities are usually attributed to a greatly expanded neocortex, which has been described as “the crowning achievement of evolution and the biological substrate of human mental prowess” [1 • Rakic P. Evolution of the neocortex: a perspective from developmental biology.Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 2009; 10: 724-735 • Crossref • Pu...
Article
Full-text available
A fundamental trend during primate evolution has been the expansion of brain size. However, this trend was reversed in the Callitrichidae (marmosets and tamarins), which have secondarily evolved smaller brains associated with a reduction in body size. The recent pursuit of the genetic basis of brain size evolution has largely focused on episodes of...
Article
One of the most pervasive assumptions about human brain evolution is that it involved relative enlargement of the frontal lobes. We show that this assumption is without foundation. Analysis of five independent data sets using correctly scaled measures and phylogenetic methods reveals that the size of human frontal lobes, and of specific frontal reg...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Both perceiver effects and wearer effects have been proposed as a source of enhanced winning chances for red displaying opponents in sportive competitions. This is the first study outside of the sports context to test wearer and perceiver effects with participants actually wearing differently coloured T-shirts rather than just imagining being in a...
Article
Full-text available
Laland and colleagues have sought to challenge the proximate–ultimate distinction claiming that it imposes a unidirectional model of causation, is limited in its capacity to account for complex biological phenomena, and hinders progress in biology. In this article the core of their argument is critically analyzed. It is claimed that contrary to the...
Article
Full-text available
Much attention has focused on the dramatic expansion of the forebrain, particularly the neocortex, as the neural substrate of cognitive evolution. However, though relatively small, the cerebellum contains about four times more neurons than the neocortex. I show that commonly used comparative measures such as neocortex ratio underestimate the contri...
Article
Full-text available
In a range of non-human primate, bird and fish species, the intensity of red coloration in males is associated with social dominance, testosterone levels and mate selection. In humans too, skin redness is associated with health, but it is not known whether - as in non-human species - it is also associated with dominance and links to attractiveness...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Red colouration is a sexually selected trait associated with dominance in a variety of animal taxa, and has similar psychological and cultural associations in humans. Both natural and artificial red stimuli have been found to exploit these innate biases. Because human skin redness varies with health, hormones and emotional state, I hypothesised tha...
Article
This chapter examines the theoretical and empirical research into evolutionary aspects of four complex issues of human behaviour in sports. We highlight how evolutionary approaches have promoted our understanding of human sports and competition. To begin with, we describe the relationship between sports competitions and testosterone levels and eluc...
Article
Full-text available
Brain size variation in mammals correlates with life histories: larger-brained species have longer gestations, mature later, and have increased lifespans. These patterns have been explained in terms of developmental costs (larger brains take longer to grow) and cognitive benefits (large brains enhance survival and increase lifespan). In support of...
Article
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The mammalian placenta exhibits striking interspecific morphological variation, yet the implications of such diversity for reproductive strategies and fetal development remain obscure. More invasive hemochorial placentas, in which fetal tissues directly contact the maternal blood supply, are believed to facilitate nutrient transfer, resulting in hi...
Article
Full-text available
The anatomical basis and adaptive function of the expansion in primate brain size have long been studied; however, we are only beginning to understand the genetic basis of these evolutionary changes. Genes linked to human primary microcephaly have received much attention as they have accelerated evolutionary rates along lineages leading to humans....
Article
The scaling of metabolic rates to body size is widely considered to be of great biological and ecological importance, and much attention has been devoted to determining its theoretical and empirical value. Most debate centers on whether the underlying power law describing metabolic rates is 2/3 (as predicted by scaling of surface area/volume relati...
Article
Full-text available
Brain size is a key adaptive trait. It is often assumed that increasing brain size was a general evolutionary trend in primates, yet recent fossil discoveries have documented brain size decreases in some lineages, raising the question of how general a trend there was for brains to increase in mass over evolutionary time. We present the first system...
Data
Supplementary tables and figures. 1. Table S1: Brain and body mass of primates used in the analyses. 2. Table S2: Posterior distribution of the scaling parameters to identify the best model before reconstructing ancestral states in Bayesian analysis. 3. Figure S1: Correlations between estimates made using directional constant variance random walk a...
Chapter
Full-text available
All mammals so far studied experience some form of sleep. When mammals are sleep-deprived, they generally attempt to regain the lost sleep by exhibiting a “sleep rebound,” suggesting that sleep serves important functions that cannot be neglected (Siegel, 2008; Zepelin, 1989; Zepelin, Siegel, & Tobler, 2005). When sleep deprivation is enforced on in...
Article
Research during the past two decades has produced major advances in understanding sleep within particular species. Simultaneously, molecular advances have made it possible to generate phylogenetic trees, while new analytical methods provide the tools to examine macroevolutionary change on these trees. These methods have recently been applied to que...
Article
The 'expensive tissue hypothesis' predicts a size trade-off between the brain and other energetically costly organs. A specific version of this hypothesis, the 'expensive sexual tissue hypothesis', argues that selection for larger testes under sperm competition constrains brain size evolution. We show here that there is no general evolutionary trad...
Article
Full-text available
Remote sensing of the environment has proved an invaluable tool to the study of animal ecology at continental to regional scales. Here, we investigated the utility of a remotely sensed index of plant productivity (the normalized difference vegetation index [NDVI]) at a much finer spatial scale to account for the range use of an omnivorous primate (...
Article
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Sexual behaviour and mate choice are key intervening variables between attachment and life histories. We propose a set of predictions relating attachment, reproductive strategies, and mate choice criteria.
Article
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Sleep is a biological enigma. Despite occupying much of an animal's life, and having been scrutinized by numerous experimental studies, there is still no consensus on its function. Similarly, no hypothesis has yet explained why species have evolved such marked variation in their sleep requirements (from 3 to 20 hours a day in mammals). One intrigui...
Article
Full-text available
Sleep is a pervasive characteristic of mammalian species, yet its purpose remains obscure. It is often proposed that 'sleep is for the brain', a view that is supported by experimental studies showing that sleep improves cognitive processes such as memory consolidation. Some comparative studies have also reported that mammalian sleep durations are h...
Data
Full-text available
Statistical analyses with alternate data restrictions. Alternate analyses in which the relationship between sleep and parasitism is restricted to EEG studies, and in which the relationship between sleep and immune defence does not control for activity period.
Data
Full-text available
Data on sleep, immunity and infection. Species specific values for the time spent in sleep and its different states, the number of white blood cells in peripheral blood, and the degree of parasitism.
Chapter
Full-text available
The primates comprise a diverse group of eutherian mammals, with between some 200 and 400 species, depending on the taxonomic authority consulted (e.g., Corbet & Hill, 1991; Wilson & Reeder, 2005). Most of these species dwell in tropical forests, but primates also thrive in many other habitats, including savannas, mountainous forests of China and J...
Article
Mammalian sleep is composed of two distinct states - rapid-eye-movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM) sleep - that alternate in cycles over a sleep bout. The duration of these cycles varies extensively across mammalian species. Because the end of a sleep cycle is often followed by brief arousals to waking, a shorter sleep cycle has been proposed to func...
Article
The amount of time asleep varies greatly in mammals, from 3 h in the donkey to 20 h in the armadillo. Previous comparative studies have suggested several functional explanations for interspecific variation in both the total time spent asleep and in rapid-eye movement (REM) or "quiet" (non-REM) sleep. In support of specific functional benefits of sl...
Article
Full-text available
The colour of sportswear has been shown to influence the outcome of bouts for several different combat sports. The generality of these effects, and whether they extend to collaborative forms of contests (team sports), is uncertain. Since 1947, English football teams wearing red shirts have been champions more often than expected on the basis of the...
Article
Full-text available
We have constructed a database that describes the sleeping characteristics of 127 different mammalian species representing 46 families across 17 orders. The data were extracted from 178 separate references that were found using standardized search protocols, and for each study includes information on the time spent in REM and NREM sleep, sleep cycl...
Article
Changes in neocortex size were a prominent feature of mammalian brain evolution, but the implications for cortical structure, and consequently for the functional significance of such changes in overall cortical size, are poorly understood. A basic question is whether functionally differentiated cortical areas evolved independently of one another (a...
Data
Data on body mass, group size and volumes of major brain components for the primate species analyzed in this study.
Data
Stepwise multiple regression models with forced inclusion of female body mass: telencephalon components.
Data
Volumes of telencephalon structures for the primate species analyzed in this study.
Data
Stepwise multiple regression models with forced inclusion of female body mass: brain components.
Data
Stepwise multiple regression models without the neocortex: brain components.
Data
Stepwise multiple regression models without the neocortex: telencephalon components.
Article
Full-text available
Social and competitive demands often differ between the sexes in mammals. These differing demands should be expected to produce variation in the relative sizes of various brain structures. Sexual selection on males can be predicted to influence brain components handling sensory-motor skills that are important for physical competition or neural path...
Article
“Undoubtedly the most distinctive trait of the Primates, wherein this order contrasts with all other mammalian orders in its evolutionary history, is the tendency towards the development of a brain which is large in proportion to the total body weight, and which is particularly characterized by a relatively extensive and often richly convoluted cer...
Article
A new study of contact calls in dolphins shows that individuals can recognize one another using information encoded in the frequency modulation pattern of these calls, in the absence of general voice characteristics.