Arthur J. Villasanta - Fourth Estate Contributor
Nashiville, TN, United States (4E) - It's official, scientifically at least. Dogs are smarter than cats because a dog's brain is more neuron dense. Tough luck, Garfield.
That dogs are brainier than cats was revealed by new research that suggests dogs have more neurons in the cerebral cortex of their brains compared to cats. Dogs can have more than 630 million neurons, while cats have about 250 million, according to the study. In contrast, humans have about 16 billion neurons.
The research by an international team of researchers said the more neurons an animal has, the better its information processing capability. The study was conducted by researchers from six universities in the US, Brazil, Denmark and South Africa.
In the past, scientists that wanted to intelligence across species were limited to using brain size as an indicator of intelligence.
In 2005, however, a laboratory run by of Suzana Herculano-Houzel, an associate professor of psychology and biological sciences at Vanderbilt University, developed a very simple, fast and inexpensive method to count cells in brains and brain parts.
Researchers took brain matter and liquefied it. This method released the cell nuclei and allowed scientists to count the number of nuclei using a microscope.
They found that a 15 pound mixed-breed dog's has 429 million neurons in its cerebral cortex while a cat's has 250 million neurons in its cerebral cortex. A 64 pound golden retriever had 627 million neurons.
"It is fair to say, then, that dogs have about twice as many neurons as cats in their cerebral cortex," said Herculano-Houzel. "And this implies that dogs have more cognitive capabilities than cats."
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