According to the research, raccoons have as many neurons as a primate packed into a brain the size of a cat's, and bears have the same number of neurons as a cat packed into a much larger brain.
They might chew your shoes, occasionally pee on the rug, or snarf down your entire dinner the minute you turn your head, but it turns out your family dog is measurably smarter than your cat. The researchers analyzed the cerebral cortex, typically the largest segment of the brain, from eight carnivoran species, including a bear, cat, dog, racoon and lion.
Dogs are smarter than cats, a new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University has found. At the least, we now have some biology that people can factor into their discussions about who's smarter: "cats or dogs".
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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.
"I'm 100 percent a dog-person", she said, according to Vanderbilt University, "but, with that disclaimer, 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".
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.
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This is because wild carnivores need bigger brains than herbivores for hunting, as tracking prey is demanding, cognitively speaking, and requires planning. However, the researchers also discovered that brown bears had almost as many neurons as cats, despite being significantly bigger in size in comparison.
This hypothesis was proven wrong by the study.
They also noted that racoons had far more number of neurons than their small size brain indicated.
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Elsewhere, researchers found that the brain size of hunter animals did not mean they were brainier than their prey. Bears have brains that are ten times that of cats, but same number of neurons.