Good news for all dog lovers, and bad meows — we mean, news — for cat aficionados everywhere. The scientific gods have spoken, unanimously and unambiguously, trying to answer an age old question?
In a new scientific paper published in the journal Frontiers of Neuroanatomy, researchers have clear evidence to suggest that dogs are in fact smarter than cats.
They came to this conclusion by comparing the brains of cats and dogs, which led them to conclude that a dog’s brain has roughly twice the number of cortical neurons necessary for the ability to think, carry out complex behavioural patterns, and planning.
Dogs have roughly 530 million cortical neurons, while cats have about 250 million.
How did scientists conduct this expansive study? The effort included a team of international researchers working at educational facilities and animal care centers (including zoos), according to a NBC report. Not just dogs and cats, the researchers actually compared the brain cells of eight different carnivores.
What researchers found that dogs are not only smarter compared to cats, but their cortical neuron count is higher than that found in larger carnivores like African lions and brown bears.
How is this possible, you may wonder? Scientists behind the study concluded that metabolic constraints tend to have imposed a trade-off between body size and number of cortical neurons, in the case of large carnivores scrutinized in the study. At some point in the evolutionary process, the brain development is directly proportional to the energy consumed by any species of animal.
So when an animal — especially, a predatorial carnivore — grows beyond a certain size, it can roughly hunt the amount of energy it is able to consume by killing its prey. If it can’t find more energy for the brain’s development, the brain stops developing in its complexity and becoming intelligent.
To sum up in six words: sorry cat lovers, rejoice dog fans!