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狗和猫谁更聪明?科学家终于找到答案

Chris Morris 2017年12月10日

研究发现,狗拥有约5.3亿大脑皮质神经元,猫只有2.5亿,不到狗的一半。

狗狗可能经常啃坏鞋,偷偷在地毯上撒尿,或者一扭头就吞掉你的晚餐。可新近研究显示,狗狗其实比猫咪聪明太多。

美国范德堡大学的研究人员采取客观测试方法,研究了一些狗狗猫猫的大脑皮质神经元,决心解开到底狗聪明还是猫聪明这个争论已久的谜题。结果怎样?原来犬类的大脑皮质神经元比猫科动物多得多。

研究发现,狗拥有约5.3亿大脑皮质神经元,猫只有2.5亿,不到狗的一半。(人类大脑中皮质神经元数量约为160亿。)

范德堡大学心理学与生物学副教授苏珊娜·赫库蓝诺-赫佐尔与世界各国研究人士合作,共同负责这项研究。她表示:“我认为,动物的神经元、特别是大脑皮质神经元的绝对数量决定了思维丰富程度,以及根据既往经验预测身处环境的能力。”

这项研究报告将发表在期刊《神经科学前沿》上(美国社交新闻聚合网站reddit的网友肯定会群起而攻之,因为reddit是猫粉大本营)。报告还指出,脑容量和总体智商不一定相关。举例来说,研究人员发现虽然棕熊的脑容量是猫的十倍,脑神经元数量却和猫相当。(浣熊的智商也和猫不相上下。)

虽然研究有了结果,但别指望猫狗谁更聪明的争议会就此打住。赫库蓝诺-赫佐尔也承认,虽然研究是客观的,她自己就有偏好。

“首先声明,我绝对是爱狗之人,”她说,“对我来说新发现只是意味着,狗狗比猫咪能做更复杂也更灵活的事而已。”(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

审稿:夏林

They might chew your shoes, occasionally pee on the rug, or snarf down your entire dinner the minute you turn your head, but it turns out your family dog is measurably smarter than your cat.

Researchers at Vanderbilt decided to put the age old debate to the test objectively, studying the number of cortical neurons in the brains of a number of animals. The results? Canines had a significantly higher number than felines.

Dogs, it turns out, have about 530 million cortical neurons. Cats have less than half that, coming in with 250 million. (We humans have about 16 billion.)

“I believe the absolute number of neurons an animal has, especially in the cerebral cortex, determines the richness of their internal mental state and their ability to predict what is about to happen in their environment based on past experience,” said Suzana Herculano-Houzel, associate professor of psychology and biological sciences at Vanderbilt, who oversaw the study with a collection of international researchers.

The paper, which will be published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy (and almost certainly maligned on reddit, the Internet’s haven for cat lovers), notes that the physical size of the brain doesn’t necessarily relate to overall intelligence. For example, researchers found that the brain of a brown bear, while 10 times as large as a cat’s, has roughly the same number of neurons. (Raccoons, also, are on par with cats when it comes to smarts.)

Despite the findings, don’t expect this argument to go away anytime soon. Herculano-Houzel herself admits that, while the study was objective, she herself does have a bit of a bias.

“I’m 100 percent a dog person,” she says, “but, with that disclaimer, our findings mean to me that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can.”

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