Sorry, cat people, dogs are smarter
There’s a new twist to the perennial argument about which is smarter, cats or dogs. It has to do with their brains, specifically the number of neurons in their cerebral cortex：the little grey cells associated with thinking, planning and complex behavior － all considered hallmarks of intelligence.
The first study to actually count the number of cortical neurons in the brains of a number of carnivores, including cats and dogs, has found that dogs possess significantly more of them than cats. As far as dogs and cats go, the study found that dogs have about 530 million cortical neurons while cats have about 250 million, compared with 16 billion in the human brain.
The researchers analysed the brains of one or two specimens from each of eight carnivore species：ferret, mongoose, raccoon, cat, dog, hyena, lion and brown bear. They found that the brain of a golden retriever has more neurons than a hyena, lion or brown bear, even though the bigger predators have brains up to three times as large.