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Cats don’t believe in evolution. They believe in servants. Humans are best. We have hands. They’re so convenient.

Cheetah is social but with small frontal lobes/stuporter, Fotolia

Seriously, from ScienceDaily:

The brains of wild cats don’t necessarily respond to the same evolutionary pressures as those of their fellow mammals, humans and primates, indicates a surprising new study.

Arguably, the fact that people and monkeys have particularly large frontal lobes is linked to their social nature. But cheetahs are also social creatures and their frontal lobes are relatively small. And leopards are solitary beasts, yet their frontal lobes are actually enlarged.

So what gives? Sharleen Sakai, lead investigator of the National Science Foundation-funded research, said the findings suggest that multiple factors beyond sociality may influence brain anatomy in carnivores.

“Studying feline brain evolution has been a bit like herding cats,” said Sakai, MSU professor of psychology and neuroscience. “Our findings suggest the factors that drive brain evolution in wild cats are likely to differ from selection pressures identified in primate brain evolution.” Paper. (public access) – Sharleen T. Sakai, Bradley M. Arsznov, Ani E. Hristova, Elise J. Yoon, Barbara L. Lundrigan. Big Cat Coalitions: A Comparative Analysis of Regional Brain Volumes in Felidae. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 2016; 10 DOI: 10.3389/fnana.2016.00099More.

It’s not clear that there is usually a close relationship between size and type of brain and behaviour. Humans are outliers an should be omitted from comparisons, for clarity.

Note: Domestic cats prey on small rodents, so they do not organize themselves in packs. But they can live together quite amicably. The social rank is determined by, among other things, play fights.

See also: Furry, feathery, and finny animals speak their minds


Does intelligence depend on a specific type of brain?

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