The findings show that while dogs have about 530 million cortical neurons, cats have 250 million. The human brain possesses 16 billion neurons.
These cortical neurons in their cerebral cortex are also called "little gray cells" and are associated with thinking, planning and complex behaviour -- all considered hallmarks of intelligence.
"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 at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
"Our findings showed that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can," Herculano-Houzel added.
In addition, the researchers determined that the ratio of neurons to brain size in small-and medium-sized carnivores was about the same as that of herbivores, suggesting that there is just as much evolutionary pressure on the herbivores to develop the brain power to escape from predators as there is on carnivores to catch them. Click for more trending news