Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
Airs Weekdays 2:31, 3:31 and 5:49 a.m.

Animal IQ

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Dogs, and cats, and…bears?  Who’s the smartest?  Care to take a bet?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Suzana Herculano-Houzel, a neuroscientist from Vanderbilt University, hosted, if you will, a battle of wits. She believes that smarter creatures should have more neurons within their cerebral cortexes.

So she and her colleagues dissolved a variety of animal brains in (EEEK!) detergent. Once dissolved, these served as the perfect ‘brain soups’ for neuron counting. 

So…does a bigger brain have more neurons? Not exactly. Poor bears, owners of the largest brains, turn out to be the LEAST smart!  Dog lovers? Good news - your puppies lead the pack! Turns out they have three hundred million MORE neurons than cats, who came in second.

Raccoons get an honorable mention! They squeeze primate-like numbers of neurons into their cat-sized brains. At the very least, they deserve the title of most economic packer!

So, if you chose dogs…You’ve won the bet! Your prize? A goldfish.