All hail the Border Collie? Last year, a leading canine
the breed the "most intelligent" type of dog. The
widely-read report rankled owners of retrievers, poodles and dobermans, but also quite possibly amused cat owners
who read it. After all, no good cat person would believe the obedient, docile collie is smarter than their feisty Mittens, which of course proves Mittens is smarter than all
Wrong. A new unrelated study, authored by
Oxford university researchers, launched another salvo in the bitter,
perpetual war between dog and cat owners. These researchers have found
evolutionary evidence that dogs have evolved bigger brains than their
feline counterparts and are therefore more intelligent. The
key, as The Daily Mail's David Derbyshire
explains it, is that there is a "strong link between the size of a
brain relative to an animal's body and how sociable that creature is."
Dogs apparently evolved to have
more gray matter because of their greater sociability. Whereas cats, preferring a relatively
solitary, independent existence, did not need to evolve the extra intelligence for "the co-operation and co-ordination needed for group living." However sound the research, of course, it may do little to sway the emotionally entrenched camps of owners.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
ehayden at nationaljournal dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.