Friday, 15 December, 2017

Scientists Believe That Dogs May Be Twice As Smart As Cats

Who's Smarter, Dogs or Cats? Science Now Has the Answer Which is smarter: a cat or a dog? New study has the answer to that long-standing question
Sammy Stanley | 01 December, 2017, 05:41

A new study by Vanderbilt University researchers proves beyond a biological doubt that a dog's cerebral cortex contains more than twice the neurons of a cat's brain.

Dog people are gloating this week amid widespread reports that a recent study found dogs to be "smarter" than cats.

They also looked at the brains of one or two specimens from each of eight carnivoran species: ferret, mongoose, raccoon, cat, dog, hyena, lion and brown bear. Those little gray cells are in charge of thinking, planning and complex behavior and are considered a marker of intelligence in animals.

"I believe the absolute number of neurons an animal has, especially in the cerebral cortex, determines the richness of their internal mental state and their ability to predict what is about to happen in their environment based on past experience", explained Associate Professor Suzana Herculano-Houzel, a neuroscientist with the Vanderbilt Brain Institute.

"We did not study their behavior, so we can not (and do not) make any claims about how intelligent they are", researcher Suzana Herculano-Houzel, an associate professor at Vanderbilt University, told HuffPost in an email. Cats and dogs are both great, and honestly, the most interesting part of this study might actually be what researchers found out about raccoons.

The study also suggests that the ratio of neurons to brain size is lower for larger carnivores.

Just because an animal is bigger and has a bigger brain size, that doesn't mean it has more neurons.

As it turns out the size of the brain is not what matters the most.

For example, the brain of a golden retriever has more neurons than a hyena, lion or brown bear, even though those animals have brains up to three times as large.

"I would bet money on a large dog over a cat any time", Herculano-Houzel said. But researchers still can't be sure whether dogs are using that capability to its full potential.

Herculano-Houzel said that studying the brains of different species is important. A 2010 study from Oxford University claimed that dogs' brains are continually evolving while cats' brains haven't changed since they were domesticated about 8,000 years ago. "Yes, there are recognizable patterns, but there are multiple ways that nature has found of putting brains together-and we're trying to figure out what difference that makes".

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