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By W. Rauw

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1993) Covariances between traits deriving from successive allocations of a resource. Functional Ecology 7, 75–83. , Crowther, N. , Lucas, A. N. (1996) Organ-selective growth in the offspring of protein-restricted mothers. British Journal of Nutrition 76, 591–603. Ebinger, P. (1995) Domestication and plasticity of brain organization in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). Brain, Behavior and Evolution 45, 286–300. N. (1973) Changing concepts of the balance of nature. Quarterly Review of Biology 48, 322–350.

Resource allocation priorities may also apply to very specific structures within an organ or anatomical part. For example, various parts of the brain may show different priorities. As evidence, when brain size decreases during winter in voles and shrews, the telencephalon or cortex decreases the most, whereas the myelencephalon or brainstem decreases the least (Yaskin, 1984). In addition, decreases in brain size associated with domestication in the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) are associated with larger reductions in the sizes of the cortex and cerebellum than that of the medulla oblongata (Kruska, 1975).

Clearly, a mammal can survive without gonads or with significantly reduced liver, spleen or fat tissue, but it cannot survive for long with even a slightly impaired brain. This is because the brain is important for regulating virtually all of the body’s activities, and removal of any of its control centres would have serious, if not fatal, effects. Regulatory systems, such as that of the brain and central nervous system, should be privileged components of the body’s resource budget, because altering the allocation of resources to them would affect the homeostasis of the whole body, and even the resource allocation system itself.

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