Are cats smarter than dogs? Dogs have more than twice the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex than cats
Cats and dogs are the most common pests in the world today. According to the 2019 China Pet Market Survey Report, the number of pet cats and dogs in cities and towns alone is as high as 99.15 million, of which 44.12 million are cats and 55.03 million are dogs, not counting the rural ones, which would be even larger if the rural data is included.
When it comes to cats and dogs, we always have an endless conversation, and all the pooper scoopers are always happy to talk about such topics, including the discussion on who is smarter, cats and dogs, in a host of topics have a high degree of heat.
Cats and dogs are two animals with very different personalities, cats are cold and seemingly impersonal, even if the pooper scooper takes the initiative to interact with it, the cat seems to be an attitude of indifference. In contrast, the dog is another scene, it is quite enthusiastic about the owner, willing and active interaction with people, and the two pet experiences, each with its characteristics, can not say which is better.
Cats do seem to be smarter in terms of their daily behavior and attitude, so most people think they are smarter than dogs, but is that the case?
I. Measuring an animal's intelligence is not simple
Measuring the intelligence of animals is never easy, and there are no fixed questions that can be used to measure it like human intelligence. In one experiment, researchers gathered cats and dogs and placed opaque cups upside down on the floor, one of which had food in it and the others were empty and pointed their fingers at the cup with food. playing or simply resting on their backs, leading to a stagnation of the experiment.
Later, the researchers considered that the unfamiliar environment might be very uncomfortable for the cats and placed the experiment in their homes, and found that the cats were also able to obtain food according to human gestures.
From the results of this experiment, people may feel that cats and dogs are probably as smart, but cats due to their personality, are not as enthusiastic as dogs, the attitude towards things around them is different. But is this the case? This experiment seems to be so at first glance, but in fact, it does not stand up to scrutiny.
First of all, there is a certain problem with the way the experiment was conducted, most domestic dogs are friendly to humans and cheerful and like to interact with people, plus the daily interaction between the shoveler and the dog, even if the dogs have not experienced professional training, do not know what the gesture means, but out of instinctive reaction, they are willing to try to respond, which explains why most of the dogs will be positive to the researcher's gesture to make This explains why most dogs respond positively to the researcher's gestures and thus receive food.
Cats, on the other hand, are essentially felines and are naturally solitary and unapproachable, plus the fact that pooper scoopers have less interaction with cats compared to dogs, so they are less willing to cooperate with humans to respond, which explains why the experiment was able to continue in the cats' homes.
Secondly, this experiment lacks a certain quantitative analysis. From the results of the experiment, the cats eventually showed similar behavior to the dogs, but on closer examination, the results are very misleading if the corresponding thresholds are not reached.
How to understand it? It simply means that when a college student who has studied calculus, and an elementary school student who is still in elementary school and whose math skills are limited to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, work together on an addition and subtraction problem within 100, and both end up with the same answer, so we conclude that they are just as good at math! This is not true and is a very serious error, so the previous "cup experiment" does not test at all to see who is smarter, or even if they are equally smart.
II. Measuring the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex is the most scientific method available
So how do you know who is smarter, cats or dogs? The most proven way to measure an animal's IQ is to measure the number of neurons in the brain. In the realm of biology, neurons are the basic information-processing units, and a greater number indicates greater information-processing ability, which simply means greater cognitive ability, which means greater intelligence.
At one time, even now, many people still use the relative size and structural complexity of the brain as an important measure of intelligence, and in real life, it seems that much so-called evidence can be found, for example, the larger the relative size of the brain of carnivores, the better they can handle changes in the external world, the more adaptable they are to the environment, and the better they can process.
But in fact, the size of the brain volume is not a good representation of the IQ, because the same relative volume size of the brain and the number of neurons may also be different, simply put is the same size of the carton stacked full of a house if the gap between the cartons is wide, then only a small number of boxes can be stacked full of the room, if the gap is small, then you need to use a greater number of cartons. Here we can understand the room as the brain and the cartons as neurons.
Although the way to measure neurons is not necessarily correct, in the current level of science, this way is currently the most scientific and effective.
The number of neurons in the cerebral cortex of an adult with normal intelligence is about 16 billion, which varies slightly from individual to individual, but is about the same overall.
Among primates, the number of neurons in the chimpanzee cerebral cortex is 6-7 billion, indicating that their IQ is equivalent to that of a 3-4-year-old child, which is consistent with what we observe in real life. Chimpanzees are relatively intelligent beings in the primate and animal world as a whole, they know how to use tools to obtain food, they can maintain a mother-child relationship for a long time, and even after splitting up the group they can still from time to time The chimpanzees are also more intelligent in the primate world, and the world at large, in that they know how to use tools to get food and can maintain a mother-child relationship for a long time, even after they have been separated, and can still "return to the group to visit their mother", a phenomenon that rarely happens in animals.
Three, dogs have more than twice the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex than cats
Based on this prerequisite, scientists in several countries, including the United States, have measured and analyzed the number of neurons in the brains of cats and dogs, ultimately concluding that the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex of both large and small dogs is about 500 million or so.
Scientists analyzed the brains of a golden retriever, a small dog, and a cat, and found that the cat's neuron content was only 250 million, while the dog's average neuron content was as high as 528 million, more than twice the number of the cat, indicating that the dog's ability to process information is much higher than the cat's. This is consistent with the phenomena we observe in daily life, such as dogs after simple training, being able to recognize A large number of simple gestures in daily life, for example.
According to the analysis of the number of neurons, elephants have 5.6 billion neurons in the cerebral cortex, indicating that they are the most intelligent animals in the animal kingdom after primates, in line with our perceptions.
In addition, people also analyzed a lion weighing 180 kg, its neuron content in the cerebral cortex of 545 million, a brown bear weighing 350 kg, the number of neurons in its cerebral cortex of 251 million, indicating that the intelligence of dogs may be similar to that of animals such as lions, while the intelligence of cats is similar to that of animals such as brown bears.
Some may ask, the content of neurons in the brain is not like peanuts, which can be spread out to count one by one, how do humans know the content of neurons in the cerebral cortex of animals? Although the process is very complicated, the level of science has developed to this point, can do this kind of experiment or many institutions.
In simple terms, we isolate suspended nuclei from neurons in the cerebral cortex, measure the number of suspended nuclei per unit volume, estimate the number of all suspended nuclei, and finally estimate the number of neurons, although there is a certain amount of error in the process, the error is controlled within a small range, we can get a more accurate value.
Through the study of neurons in the cerebral cortex, we will find that although dogs show certain "dumb" attributes in daily life, especially huskies, which are known for their stupidity, most cats look more calm and sophisticated, giving the impression that cats are much smarter than dogs, in front of quantitative data, dogs The neuronal content of the cerebral cortex is much higher than that of cats, which means that dogs have a stronger ability to process information, cognitive ability and adaptability to the environment than cats, which means that dogs are smarter, as the saying goes.
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