Scientists at Vanderbilt University wanted to compare the brains of different mammals to understand the relationship between brain size and density.
To do so, their study examined the neuronal density and brain sizes of eight mammals: cats, dogs, bears, lions, hyenas, ferrets, mongoose, and raccoons. Brain density measures the number of neurons – those small, grey brain cells that determine our thoughts and behavior – located in the cerebral cortex, which is a common indicator of intelligence.
Ultimately, the findings revealed that dogs’ brains contain twice as many neurons as those of cats. Dogs’ cortical neurons outnumbered cats’ by 530 million to 250 million, to be exact. Meanwhile, golden retrievers won the day for the most cortical neurons of all animals studied, with 627 million. C
But if you’re ready to unleash your bragging rights as a dog person, proceed with caution.
The researchers warned that the results shouldn’t be mistaken as the final word on this age-old battle.
“Any argument about their cognitive capabilities at this point will be largely a matter of opinion until direct, systematic comparisons of cognitive capacity are performed across these and other species,” the researchers wrote.
In that case, let the debate rage on.