You’ve always known it to be true but you never had proof, until now: A new study has determined that dogs are in fact more intelligent than cats.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, found that dogs have more neurons located in their brains’ cerebral cortex — the part associated with thinking, memory and perception — than do cats.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University found that dogs have around 530 million cortical neurons, while cats have about 250 million. (Humans have 16 million.)
"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," said Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Associate Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences, who led the study.
It was the first study to compare the number of neurons in the brains of different species of the order of Carnivora, which includes other tooth-and-clawed mammals such as lions, bears and raccoons.
The researchers also determined that brain size does not correlate with intelligence or number of cortical neurons. For example, raccoons, despite having smaller brains than cats, have about the same number of cortical neurons as dogs. Bears, on the other hand, have brains ten times the size of a cat’s, but around the same number of neurons. Who woulda thunk it?
These findings come in the same week that we learned that owning a dog can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and prolong your life. Safe to say it’s objectively true that dogs are the superior beast.