A new study has revealed something that will disturb a number of elderly women: dogs are smarter than cats.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, numbered the neurons in the cerebral cortexes of the brains of cats and dogs, as well as other animals. The neurons are involved with thinking, planning and complex behavior, and guess what? Dogs have significantly more than cats.

Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Associate Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University, created the method for measuring the number of neurons. She stated:

I believe the absolute number of neurons an animal has, especially in the cerebral cortex, determines the richness of their internal mental state and their ability to predict what is about to happen in their environment based on past experience.

The study found dogs have roughly 530 million cortical neurons while cats have roughly 250 million. Humans have 16 billion cortical neurons.

The study noted:

Both dog individuals examined (a 7.45 kg mixed-breed and a 32 kg golden retriever) had larger brains than the cat (brain mass in dogs, 58.4 and 114.5 g, respectively; cat, 34.8 g), and also more brain neurons than the cat (dogs, 1.8 and 2.6 billion neurons, respectively; cat, 1.2 billion neurons). The same applies to the cerebral cortex of the dogs, at 46.2 g with 429 million neurons and 84.8 g with 623 million neurons, against 24.2 g with 250 million neurons in the cat.

Additionally, “The twice larger absolute number of neurons we find in the cerebral cortex of the dog compared to the domestic cat suggests that dogs have a cognitive advantage over cats.”


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