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Are tigers more intelligent than dogs?

Are tigers more intelligent than dogs?

Hyenas are moderately large terrestrial carnivores native to Africa and Asia. They are members of the family Hyaenidae.

Although hyenas look like rather large wild dogs, they make up a separate biological family which is most closely related to Herpestidae (the family of mongooses and meerkats). The hyena has one of the strongest jaws in the animal kingdom and an adult of the species has only the large cats of the family Felidae (Lions, Tigers, Jaguars, etc.) to fear.

Hyenas range in length from 1.2 — 1.5 meters (3.9 — 4.9 ft) including the tail, which is 30 cm (12 inches) in length. An adult hyena weighs between 25 and 55 kg (55 — 120 lb). The pelt can be light to dark-brown on Brown Hyenas, while the color can be gray, sometimes nearly white on Striped Hyenas. Aardwolves have a warm, sand-colored coat, while the coats of Spotted Hyenas can range from dark-brown fur to amber and reddish in color.

In ancient times, large hyenas ranged over much of Europe and Asia, but they are much reduced in range and diversity today. Only four species survive: the Spotted, Brown, and Striped Hyenas (which together make up the subfamily Hyaeninae), and the Aardwolf, which is the only member of the subfamily Protelinae.

Despite common belief, only some species belonging to this family are scavengers: while the brown and the striped hyena derive most of their diets from scavenging, the spotted hyena is not only a real predator, but also the most effective predator on the African savannah. The Aardwolf usually eat insects like termites.

Hyenas are also highly intelligent predators, even more intelligent than the lions (some scientists claim they are of equal intelligence to certain apes). One indication of hyena intelligence is that hyenas will move their kills closer to each other to protect them from scavengers; another indication is their strategic hunting methods.

A group of spotted hyenas (called a «clan») can include 5-90 members and is led by a single alpha female. A complicated social hierarchy governs the clan. Cubs often learn this social system before they begin to walk. Females are the dominating members, followed in rank by cubs, while adult males rank lowest. Male hyenas, which are usually smaller and less aggressive than females, often leave the clan when they are about two years of age. Females tend to mate with males from other clans, thereby preventing inbreeding. Unlike many other animals, female hyenas hardly ever mate with highly aggressive males. Instead, they select calm, patient and charming mates. Patience is especially important since courtship can last as much as a year. For this reason, dominant and impatient males have difficulty finding mates. Despite the complicated courtship, the female raises her pups without the male.

Hyenas are also born with teeth, which means that sometimes when the cubs play-fight they can accidentally kill each other. Hyenas produce such nutritious milk that, unlike lions and wild dogs, they can leave their cubs for about a week without feeding them which allows them to follow the herds of wildebeest, thus ensuring they can obtain the best prey.

In some parts of Africa, some men were thought to turn into hyenas at night. In the former Kingdom of Kaffa (now part of south-western Ethiopia), qora or were-hyenas were outlawed by special laws. Those accused of turning into hyenas at night were bound and presented to a priest of Docco, who would determine if the accused was, in fact, a qora. If found guilty, the individual would be sentenced to slavery, death, or exile. Although only a priest of Docco could make this determination, any person could accuse another of this crime. As G.W.B. Huntingford wrote, «This led to much injustice, and according to old Kafa men the law was often set into motion.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article «Hyena».

Dogs Smarter Than Cats, But Felines As Smart As Bears: Study

A Vanderbilt University researcher also found raccoons and cats have similar-sized brains, but raccoons are about as smart as primates.

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Beth Dalbey, Patch Staff
Posted Tue, Jan 2, 2018 at 1:19 pm ET | Updated Tue, Jan 2, 2018 at 1:24 pm ET

It probably doesn’t settle much in the minds of people fighting like, well cats and dogs, over which pet is smarter, but a study published last month says dogs are brainier than cats — although you probably already knew that if you’ve tried to train a feline to do tricks or, really, almost anything you wanted the cat to do.

The reason your cat won’t do what you want is that felines only have about 250 neurons in their cerebral cortexes, less than half the number that dogs have. The neurons are associated with thinking, planning and complex behavior, Suzana Herculano-Houzel, an associate professor of psychology and biological sciences at Vanderbilt University, said in the study, published this month in the journal “Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.”

But, cheer up, cat lovers. Cats and brown bears have similar smarts, even though bears’ brains are about 10 times larger, according to the study. Researchers studied eight species of carnivoran — a diverse order that consists of 280 species of mammals that have teeth and claws needed to eat other animals. Species studied included ferret, mongoose, raccoon, hyena and lion, in addition to cats, dogs and brown bears.

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The neuron-to-brain size is actually lower in the largest carnivorans. The researchers found that a golden retriever has more neurons than a hyena, lion of brown bear, even though the other animals’ brains are up to three times larger than the dog’s.

The researchers’ findings blew their hypothesis right out the window. They expected to find more cortical neurons in carnivores than in the herbivores they prey upon, because hunting is more demanding, cognitively speaking, compared to the herbivores’ primary strategy of finding safety in numbers.

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Instead, they found the number of neurons were about the same in small- and medium-sized carnivores as in herbivores. That suggests herbivores are under just as much evolutionary pressure as carnivores to develop the brain power to escape the predators trying to catch them, Herculano-Houzel and her team said.

“Meat eating is largely considered a problem-solver in terms of energy, but, in retrospect, it is clear that carnivory must impose a delicate balance between how much brain and body a species can afford,” Herculano-Houzel said in a statement about the study.

Hunting is tedious work, particularly for large, meat-eating predators. For example, lions spend most of their time just laying around. That’s because the brain is, in terms of energy, the most expensive and its requirements are proportional to the number of neurons, the researchers said.

Brains also need continuous energy, and as a result, the amount of meat large hunters can kill and consume and the amount of time they spend resting seems to limit brain development, the researchers said.

The study also challenged the assumption that domesticated animals like cats, dogs and ferrets have smaller brains than wild carnivores because they don’t have to work hard to find food. But there wasn’t much difference in the brain-size-to-body-weight ratio between pets and the other animals in the study.

Researchers also discovered that raccoons are an outlier. Their brains are about the same size as a cat’s, but they have the same number of cortical neurons as some of our closest cousins.

“Raccoons are not your typical carnivoran,” said Herculano-Houzel said. “They have a fairly small brain but they have as many neurons as you would expect to find in a primate — and that’s a lot of neurons.”

The study was funded by the James S. McDonnell Foundation; the Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fund at Randolph-Macon College; the Vice Deanship of Research Chairs at the King Saud University; the National Research Foundation of South Africa; and Brazilian crowdfunding contributors.

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