A new study set to put an end to the intelligent-pet debate has claimed that their friendly character has helped dogs to develop bigger brains than cats. It was often thought the feline pet was smarter than its canine counterpart because it needed less attention but researchers at the Oxford University have discovered that cat’s brains are smaller as 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, 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 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. 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 and extends to other species, like ourselves.
“We are even more social than monkeys and apes and it is this ability 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,” she added.