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Scientists Believe That Dogs May Be Twice As Smart As Cats
30 November 2017, 11:43 | Melissa Porter
Which is smarter: a cat or a dog? New study has the answer to that long-standing question
The answer is, no, dogs are smarter than cats, at least as far as brain function goes.
According to the school's website, in a new study, researchers counted the number of neurons in the brains of cats and dogs.
Now, after counting the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex of a range of carnivores, there's finally something in the way of conclusive evidence about which animal has more capacity for intelligence, and it's dogs.
Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Vanderbilt associate professor of psychology and biological sciences, said the findings show dogs are more capable of behaviors related to intelligence than their feline counterparts.
"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".
Apart from just cats and dogs, the study also took into account one or two specimens from eight carnivorous species including ferret, mongoose, raccoon, hyena, lion and brown bear.
The study found that a cat has 250 cortical neurons and a dog has about 530 million. Remarkably, the brown bear cerebral cortex, the largest examined, only has as many neurons as the ten times smaller cat cerebral cortex, although it does have the expected ten times as many non-neuronal cells in the cerebral cortex compared to the cat. Brown bears have larger brains, but only about as many neurons as cats. Comparison of domestic and wild species suggests that the neuronal composition of carnivoran brains is not affected by domestication. Results point out to dogs possessing significantly more neurons than cats. 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. Herculano-Houzel herself admits that, while the study was objective, she herself does have a bit of a bias. "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". "Not every species is made the same way". Yes, there are recognizable patterns, but there are multiple ways that nature has found of putting brains together.
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