Cats or dogs: scientists find out who is smarter

Dogs Really May Be Smarter Than Cats, Study Suggests

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.

If an animal has more of these neurons, it would follow that they would be able to engage in more of these activities, so the study-for the first time ever-counted the number of these neurons in the brains of several animals.

Cats have significantly less cortical neurons than dogs. There appeared to be discrepancies when it came to neurons and cortex size, the study also found.

"Our findings mean to me that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can", she added.

What the researchers did is take brain matter and essentially turn it into soup.

The research, which was led by Vanderbilt University's Suzana Herculano-Houzel, found that cats had just 250 million cortical neurons compared to dogs' 530 million. While different parts of the brain process outside stimuli like sight and touch, the cerebral cortex puts these stimuli together to drive decision-making and problem-solving, among other functions.

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The researches believe the number of cortical neurons signifies the richness of an animal's mental state. Two brains were used to study dogs because the canines vary so greatly in size. For example, researchers found that the brain of a brown bear, while 10 times as large as a cat's, has roughly the same number of neurons. Score one for Team Dog!

That's the conclusion of an worldwide team of researchers, who found that dogs possess twice the number of neurons than cats.

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

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

The research team has so far focused on studying carnivorous land animals, but they hope to one day study marine mammals.

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