Dogs Trounce Cats in Battle of the Brains

Social demands boost pooch intelligence, say researchers

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 23, 2010 4:08 AM CST

(Newser) – The latest salvo in the battle regarding the relative intelligence of felines and dogs is bound to leave cat owners howling. Researchers are now claiming that dogs' intelligence has grown at faster rates historically than cats, spurred by canines' more social nature. They've discovered a historical link between the size of an animal’s brain in relation to the rest of its body and how socially active it has been. The study analyzed data on the brain and body size of more than 500 species and found the brains of monkeys grew the most over time, followed by horses, dolphins, camels and dogs, reports the Telegraph.

The analysis revealed that groups of mammals with bigger brains tended to live in social groups, while brains of more isolated animals such as cats, deer, and rhinos tended to grow much more slowly. "It appears that interaction is good for the brain," says Oxford researcher Susanne Shultz. Findings "suggest that co-operation needed for group living can be challenging and over time some mammals have evolved larger brains to be able to cope.” Is the Telegraph buying its own story? Not quite. Columnist Pete Wedderburn debunks some of the science behind the study, arguing that dogs and cats are each intelligent in their own way—and possibly more intelligent than the humans who concocted the research.

Dogs are smarter?
Dogs are smarter?   (?bastique)
Champion Tabasco Chili Pepper, left, a 4-year-old Chihuahua, meets Eurocastle Peanutter, a 4-month-old European Burmese cat.
"Champion Tabasco Chili Pepper," left, a 4-year-old Chihuahua, meets "Eurocastle Peanutter," a 4-month-old European Burmese cat.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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