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Study purports to answer the age-old question: Are dogs or cats smarter?

Dogs are smarter than cats, according to a new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University. (fotojagodka/Getty Images)

A new study may give "dog people" all the ammunition they need to end the age-old argument of whether dogs are smarter than cats.

Dogs win when it comes to intelligence, according to a new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University.

Essentially, the study claims that dogs have more physical brain power.

Researchers found that dogs have more neurons in the cerebral cortex. In fact, dogs have twice as many neurons as cats, according to the study. Neurons are cells that govern "thinking, planning, and complex behaviors." And all of these things relate to intelligence.

Specifically, the study says dogs have about 530 million cortical neurons, compared to 250 million in cats. Canines and felines are still a long way from humans, though — we have 16 billion.

Who says dogs are smarter?

Vanderbilt neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel made the discovery during a study on the number of neurons in various carnivores. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.

“I would bet money on a large dog over a cat any time,” Herculano-Houzel says in a video discussing the study. “They have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can.”

In addition to Herculano-Houzel, researchers from six universities in the U.S., Denmark, Brazil, and South Africa contributed to the study.

What other evidence is there?

USA Today has fun with the study, pointing out more reasons dogs are smarter than cats:

  • "Famous dogs such as Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Air Bud earned accolades for performing expert tricks on cue. Grumpy Cat gained fame for a singular facial expression.
  • "Dogs have served in the military and in police K-9 units. When it comes to involvement with first responders, cats need help from firefighters to be rescued from trees.
  • "Dogs assist people with disabilities and can learn to execute complex tasks. Cats generally stay out of the way."

On a more serious note, cats do know how to use a litterbox, USA Today noted.


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