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News Worms


New Study Finds Dogs Are Brainier Than Cats

New Study Finds Dogs Are Brainier Than Cats

"Garfield" was about an clever talking cat and a stupid dog - but was it wrong? A new study may be shedding some light on an old argument that's had pet owners fighting like, well. you know. The dogs' neurone amounted to 530 million while the cats' were counted to 250 million.

Herculano-Houzel stated it's her belief that the number of neurons an animal has, particularly those housed within the cerebral cortex, speaks to the richness of their "internal mental state and their ability to predict what is about to happen in their environment based on past experience".

Anecdotal evidence has long suggested that dogs hold an edge over felines when it comes to smarts, what with their record of service in military and police units and their history of assisting people with disabilities.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University in the US state of Tennessee recently studied the brains of several meat-eating mammals, including dogs, cats, lions, raccoons and bears. That is because hunting is more demanding, cognitively speaking, compared to the herbivore's primary strategy of finding safety in sheer numbers.

That, however, proved to be wrong.

Researchers discovered that many animals with the largest brains have the lowest neurons.

Dogs are believed to have about 530 million cortical neurons while cats have about 250
Dogs are believed to have about 530 million cortical neurons while cats have about 250

That means that it may take as much brain power to avoid being caught as it does to do the catching. It's probably the number of neurons that are residing in the brain.

The study, published in Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, analyzed the neurons of eight carnivorous animals - cats, dogs, brown bears, lions, raccoons, ferrets, mongoose and hyenas. The bear is an extreme example.

In the study, researchers compared different species of mammals to see how the number of neurons in their brains related to the size of their brains.

"One reason why dogs may have more neurons in their brains than cats may be because they are social animals", she said.

"Meat eating is largely considered a problem-solver in terms of energy", said Herculano-Houzel "but, in retrospect, it is clear that carnivory must impose a delicate balance between how much brain and body a species can afford". "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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