Bigger brains make dogs smarter than cats

Bow beats meow

Debate over Researchers have found that cats’ brains are smaller because they are less social. getty images

It was often thought that the feline pet was smarter than its canine counterpart because it needed less attention but researchers at Oxford University have discovered that cats’ brains are smaller because they are less social.

The intelligence of “a man’s best friend” has evolved at a greater rate than the less social cat over millions of years, they said.

This is for the first time that scientists have charted the evolutionary history of the brain across different groups of mammals over 60 million years and identified huge variations in how their brains have changed.

The researchers found that there was a link between the size of an animal’s brain in relation to the rest of its body and how socially active it was.

Dr Susanne Shultz, who led the research, said: “Dogs have always been regarded as the more social animals while cats like to get on with their own thing alone. But it appears that interaction is good for the brain.

“We are even more social than monkeys and apes and it is this ability to get on with each other that has helped us dominate the planet.

“This study overturns the long-held belief that brain size has increased across all mammals. Instead, groups of highly social species have undergone much more rapid increases than more solitary species.”

The scientists analysed data on the brain and body size of over 500 species of living and fossilised mammals. They found that the brains of monkeys grew the most over time followed by horses, dolphins, camels and dogs.

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