Dogs are more intelligent than cats, Vanderbilt study shows

Ray Weaver
December 1, 2017

It concluded that dogs have more neurons in their cerebral cortex, allowing them to complete more complex tasks.

Let the cat vs dog battle rage on.

It's official, scientists have confirmed that dogs are smarter than cats after literally counting the individual neurons in their brain and finding they have "significantly more".

Did you think cats were more clever and smart than 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.

She said canines have roughly 530 million cortical neurons, while cats have about 250 million.

She says the higher the number of neurons an animal has, the greater their ability to, in her words, "predict what is about to happen in their environment based on past experience". It's probably the number of neurons that are residing in the brain.

The researchers analyzed the brains of one or two specimens from each of eight carnivoran species: ferret, mongoose, raccoon, cat, dog, hyena, lion and brown bear.

"We do know that there is variation across individuals, but that's really not an issue when we're comparing species that vary so markedly in brain size or numbers of neurons", she said.

That means that it may take as much brain power to avoid being caught as it does to do the catching. Its brain is 10 times larger than a cat's, but has about the same number of neurons. But a new study may have found a clear victor when it comes to which animal is more intelligent: dogs. 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.

Carnivorans are a diverse group of mammals that includes carnivorous, omnivorous and herbivorous, domesticated and wild species, with a large range of brain sizes.

Herculano-Houzel is an admitted dog person.

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