Everyone has had at least one debate about whether cats or dogs are superior. One of the long-standing arguments cat-lovers use is that cats are just as smart as dogs, they simply don’t care to entertain humans by learning tricks. While it may be true that cats don’t care, a team of scientists might have found a biological reason to think that dogs are the smarter species.

For decades, the standard way to gauge intelligence was to look at the brain-to-body-size ratio. “The smaller the ratio, the smarter the animal.” However, this metric leaves much to be desired. For example, a human’s brain-to-body ratio is 1:60, but a mouse’s is 1:40, which would suggest mice are smarter. Modern technology has allowed researchers to count the number of neurons an animal has in the part of the brain called the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for complex skills, social behavior, and language. While cats have 250 million neurons in their cortex, dogs have roughly 530 million.

While the complete study hasn’t been published, this research suggests that dogs have the capacity to learn much more complicated skills and behaviors than cats ever could. The link between neuron count and intelligence is only just being flushed out. However, this study could help reshape the way we approach animal intelligence and help disperse notions from past decades that a smaller brain immediately means an inferior creature.

Managing Correspondent: Zane Wolf

Original Article: Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 

Media Coverage: ScienceAlert; The Washington Post; National Geographic

Related SITN Articles: Modeling the brain with computers

Image Credit: Image Source/Getty Images

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