The argument is age old, but we're sure dog lovers will be touting this research over their feline-fanatic opposition. A new study reveals that dogs have developed bigger brains in relation to their body size than cats, suggesting they are more intelligent as a result.
The Oxford University study examined the brain size of over 500 mammal species, finding that social animals have evolved larger brains than more solitary species. According to the lead author, Dr. Susanne Shultz, "This study overturns the long-held belief that brain size has increased across all mammals," Science Daily reports.
The demands of group living may be so challenging that social animals have evolutionarily coped by enlarging their brain size, better equipping them for the cooperation and coordination skills needed. When it comes to cats and dogs, cats are considered less social, even though you may think otherwise of your affable pet.
This isn't the first research to find evidence that dogs are more intelligent than cats. A study published in New Scientist last year went so far as to create a series of challenges, with both animals competing in activities ranging from problem solving to vocalization. Although results were close, the dogs came out on top.
But cat lovers, don't despair. Some scientists question whether brain size is directly related to intelligence level. A study published in an issue of the journal Current Biology found that small insects could be just as intelligent as larger animals, despite their tiny brain size. As for the evolution of humans, it turns out that our brains may even be shrinking! So perhaps it's not the size of the brain, after all, but what your pet does with it.