Health Care

Dogs smarter than cats

Dogs smarter than cats

The paper, which will be published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy (and nearly certainly maligned on Reddit, the Internet's haven for cat lovers), notes that the physical size of the brain doesn't necessarily relate to overall intelligence.

The research was done in the lab of Suzana Herculano-Houzel, an associate professor of psychology and biological sciences at Vanderbilt University.

To get an idea of how many neurons dogs and cats might typically have, the team used three brains-one from a cat, one from a golden retriever, and one from a mixed-breed small dog. Herculano-Houzel did clarify that she is "100% a dog person".

Small and medium-sized carnivores were found to have a roughly similar brain size-to-neuron ratio as the animals they preyed upon, suggesting that to escape predators herbivores had to develop just as much brain power as the animals trying to catch them.

What the researchers did is take brain matter and essentially turn it into soup. Yes, there are recognizable patterns, but there are multiple ways that nature has found of putting brains together.

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The U.S. aircraft will fly alongside South Korean F-15K, KF-16, and F-5 fighters, as well as other aviation assets. Also to be mobilized are six EA-18G Growler electronic warfare jets and dozens of F-15C and F-16 fighter jets.

"As far as dogs and cats go, the study found that dogs have about 530 million cortical neurons while cats have about 250 million". Two brains were used to study dogs because the canines vary so greatly in size.

The good news for cat lovers is that cats have about the same number of those neurons as bears even though a bear's brain is about ten times larger.

The researches believe the number of cortical neurons signifies the richness of an animal's mental state. Though Herculano-Houzel notes they also have higher-than-typical neuron counts in their cerebellums, the part of the brain that controls motor skills. "At the least, we now have some biology that people can factor into their discussions about who's smarter, cats or dogs".

The study also looked at several other animals and found raccoons, Tennessee's official wild animal, have as many neurons as primates.

Until recently, scientists interested in comparing intelligence across species were limited to using brain size as an indicator. Score one for Team Cat!


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