Brain size isn’t all that matters in animals | NevadaAppeal.com

Brain size isn’t all that matters in animals

Kathleen Williams-Miller

I love science and find myself constantly amazed at the newest discoveries. The most recent research into animal intelligence suggests that canines have more neurons in the cerebral cortex than their feline counterparts.

The study was very elegant in design and featured animals who are carnivores. They chose carnivores because they thought predators would be smarter than prey. They studied cats, dogs, bears, raccoons, mongooses, lions and hyenas.

Surprisingly, bigger animals don't necessarily have more neurons. Bears have brains 10 times the size of cat brains, but about the same number of neurons. Another surprise was that herbivores don't have fewer neurons than carnivores. Both predators and preyed-upon have a similar number of neurons.

The most relevant finding for pet owners is that dogs have more neurons than cats. Dogs have about 530 million neurons, cats have about 250 million, and humans have about 16 billion.

Does this mean that dogs are smarter than cats? That is a tricky question and counting neurons is only one way to estimate an animal's intelligence. However, dogs do appear to have a special kind of intelligence and unique relationship to humans. Dogs can be trained to guide the blind, sniff out explosives and perform tricks on command much more easily than cats.

So the debate will continue, but as I have mentioned before, dogs have owners and cats have staff. Both dogs and cats have figured a way into our hearts. Pretty smart I'd say.

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IN NEED OF

Volunteers to help build kennels. Call 775-423-7500 for details.

Warm blankets and towels for our kennels.

Folks to sign up for Amazon Smile program, details below.

Volunteers to walk dogs or play with cats. Call 775-423-7500 for details.

Aluminum cans, which we recycle to augment our shelter funds. We are unable to pick up cans because of trailer problems, but please continue to save them.

SHOUT OUT TO

Ken Tedford and Tedford Tire for repairing our transportation. We would be lost without the ability to transport our guests to the veterinarians and doggie day-care. We also use it to pick up dogs at the pound. You truly embody the spirit of community. Fallon is the small town with a big heart, and we salute you with all of our hearts!

COME SEE US

CAPS will be at Walmart Saturday with the Kissin' Booth and a puckered-up pooch. Come by to get your pooch smooch. Christmas is coming and we have caps, shirts, and mugs so be sure to check out the merchandise after you have loved on our pup.

DON'T FORGET

December Pet Holidays:

National Cat Herders Day Dec. 15. It's the first time I've heard of herding cats, how about you?

To register in the AmazonSmile program, a website operated by Amazon. Customers enjoy many of the same selection of products, low prices and shopping features as on Amazon.com. The only difference is that, when you shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organization selected by you.

Flower Tree Nursery will be raffling a 20-gallon blue spruce tree tomorrow, and the winner doesn't have to be present to win. The raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.

CONTACT CAPS

CAPS' mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89407. CAPS' phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS' email address is caps@cccomm.net. Please visit the CAPS website (www.capsnevada.com) and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to "Like" CAPS on Facebook because we are really likable.

CAPS is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me jkwmil@outlook.com.

Kathleen Williams-Miller, a CAPS volunteer, contributed this week's column.