According to a new research, a bigger brain means a more intelligent animal. This belief has been very controversial for a long time but a team of researchers from the University of Wyoming proved that the theory was indeed true.
The lead author of the study was Sarah Benson Amram who works at the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the university. She and her team discovered that the carnivore animals that have larger brains in comparison to their bodies can solve tasks and problems better. Other study authors included Ben Dantzer form the Michigan State University and Eli Swanson from the University of Minnesota.
For their study, they studied 140 animals that belonged to 39 carnivore species. The authors gave each animal a task that involved some sort of problem solving, in order to see how they would manage. Among the animals there were polar bears, tigers, wolves, arctic foxes, spotted hyenas and others. To each animal a box that contained their favorite food was given. The only issue was that the metallic box could be opened only by sliding a bolt latch. The animals had only 30 minutes to figure out how to open the box.
The animals that have larger brains, but which are still proportionate to their bodies were more successful in their task than the animals who had smaller brains. Only 35% (49 animals of 23 species)of the animals managed to open the box and eat their favorite food. Apparently, the bears are very intelligent as 70% of them managed to open the box. They were the animals that topped the list actually. The animals that were on the bottom of the list were the meerkats and the mongooses. Even though the bears were discovered to be the most intelligent, overall the smaller animals had more success than the larger ones.
According to Benson Amram, the study proves that the brain of an animal does suggest its intelligence. The team of researchers also wanted to see if the animals who live in big groups are more intelligent. The social brain hypothesis claims that the animals that live in large groups develop better their intelligence, but apparently the researchers didn’t discover anything that would support this theory.
The study that proved that a bigger brain means a more intelligent animal was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.
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