New Study Finds Dogs Are Brainier Than Cats

New Study Finds Dogs Are Brainier Than Cats

The study found that dogs are significantly smarter with more cortical neurons in their brains than cats.

What the researchers did is take brain matter and essentially turn it into soup. Neurons are cells that process information.

"In 2005, my lab developed a very simple, fast and low-cost method to count cells in brains and brain parts", Herculano-Houzel said.

The findings showed that while dogs have about 530 million cortical neurons, cats have 250 million.

The researchers analyzed the brains of other animals like lions and hyenas as well, comparing the number of neurons in their brains compared to the size of their brains. Among our closest cousins, orangutans and gorillas have about eight to nine billion neurons, while chimpanzees have about six to seven billion neurons. As if one is better, or one of the two animal species are superior.

When they looked at a 64-pound golden retriever, the count was even higher: 627 million neurons. That may help them wield their hefty trunks.

Of course, such an arbitrary measurement of the brain is not an objective metric of such a complex trait as intelligence.

Southern Indiana mall hosts sensory-friendly 'Santa Cares' event
She said they're hosting the event earlier in the holiday season to avoid most of the hubbub around Christmas. Londonderry Mall is hosting other Silent Santa events on December 9 and 16.

Until recently, scientists interested in comparing intelligence across species were limited to using brain size as an indicator.

The number of neurons present in an animal also regulates "richness of their internal mental state and their ability to predict what is about to happen...based on past experience", the researchers added.

"Raccoons are not your typical carnivoran", said Ms. Herculano-Houzel.

"It's not a larger body that explains the number of neurons you have", she said.

The research team has so far focused on studying carnivorous land animals, but they hope to one day study marine mammals. "They have a fairly small brain but they have as many neurons as you would expect to find in a primate ... and that's a lot of neurons".

Lead Image: Brewster, the akita/pitbull mix, smiles for the camera.

Related Articles