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celebratedrecluse wrote

Following the pattern of other animals that have undergone domestication, they found that the domesticated animals had brains about 25% smaller than their wild forebears

These changes to brain architecture can happen relatively quickly, she notes, as many of the specialized breeds of cattle analyzed in the study have been around for only about 200 years.

Balcarcel suspects that when breeders select for more docile animals in beef and dairy breeds, they are selecting for genes that shrink the parts of the brain that control fear, anxiety, and aggression. The result is smaller brains in breeds with the most human contact.

Well, since 25% of a cattle brain isn't devoted to fear/anxiety/aggression in the first place, this seems pretty clearly a case of correlation rather than causation.

Cattle aren't fed well, especially cattle used for food. Dairy cow have especially bad diets. This results in a shrunken brain in general...also, you don't see dramatic changes like that, in just 200 years. This is obviously just an observation of the reality that cattle have substandard nutrition and stunted development, to the degree to which they are cultivated for food.


Hash_the_Stampede wrote

I can feel my brain shrivel every time I clock into work. Wonder if that's related?