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List of animals by number of neurons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brief comparisons of number of whole brain neurons (top) and cerebral cortex neurons (bottom) among six mammals.

This is a list of representative animals by the number of neurons in their whole nervous system and the number of neurons in their brain (for those with a brain). These numbers are estimates derived by multiplying the density of neurons in a particular animal by the average volume of the animal's brain.

The whole human brain contains 86 billion neurons and roughly 16 billion neurons in the cerebral cortex.[1][2]

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Transcription

From recognizing faces to mediating arguments, here are 10 of the smartest animals in the world! 10.) Manta Ray While much is still unknown about the manta ray, scientists have discovered that they have the biggest brains of all the world’s fishes, which is about 32,000 species total. The brain of the manta ray is known to be about ten sizes bigger than the white sharks. It is also big in comparison to their body. A manta ray’s smarts has recently been compared to that of a gorilla!! Who would have known, right?? Giant manta rays often jump right out of the water, possibly as a form of communication or even play. They are also known to recognize themselves in mirrors. In a 2016 study, scientists found that captive mantas swam repetitively back and forth in front of a mirror for an unusually long time, while they examined body parts that they otherwise wouldn’t see and they seemed to know it was their own reflection. They display intelligent behavior, such as coordinated and cooperative feeding. 9.) Dogs Man’s best friend has been hanging out with us for as long as 32,000 years!! While scientists argue about how to measure intelligence exactly, the average dog is said to have the intelligence of a 2-year-old child although some breeds are smarter than others. As pack animals, dogs understand social structure and obligations and are capable of learning how to behave around other members of the pack. Dogs will correct each other’s behaviour and reward each other for acting accordingly. But just because they can learn and obey commands, it doesn’t mean it is the only street smarts they have. Do you know what breed is considered the most intelligent in the world?? Go ahead and write your answer in the comments below! The answer is coming up!! Psychologically, dogs are more similar to us than we know. They can feel empathy and are sensitive to our emotions. They like to make eye contact and can understand what different looks mean, unlike wolves who always assume looking them straight in the eye is a challenge! By making eye contact with your dog in a friendly way, we increase our oxytocin levels which is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone”. A study found that dogs see us as part of their family and they prioritize human smells over all other smells. They react to subtle cues and their brain responds when they hear emotional sounds like crying or laughter. Apes who are much closer to us genetically have a hard time understanding us. Dog lovers probably already knew how smart their dogs were, but scientifically it has been hard to prove. There is a reason that dogs are chosen as guide dogs, because they can generalize. They can apply training to new places and experiences they have never had before. You probably think that your dog is the smartest, but as to the most intelligent breed? The answer is the Border Collie!! Why? They were bred to be workaholics and would spend all day listening to commands and organizing and managing different kinds of livestock. This isn’t to say other breeds aren’t as smart. Poodles and German Shepherds are a close second as they are said to have the intelligence of a 4-7 year old child. Border collies are able to make other animals do what they want, and they might manipulate you too if you aren’t careful!! They are extra focused and are great at all kinds of dog sports. These dogs excel at high jump, utility courses, fly-ball, and can even excel in dog dancing competitions. They have an amazing sense of smell, which makes them widely accepted as great tracking dogs. They can also be trained as drug dogs and take part in search and rescues. A border collie named Chaser, learned at least 1,000 words! They make great companions and can anticipate what will happen next. Is your dog super smart? Let us know about your dog in the comments below! 8.) Pigeons This one might surprise you since they are usually just hanging around waiting for crumbs and are kind of dirty and gross. Pigeons are considered to be one of the most intelligent birds on the planet and able to undertake tasks previously thought to be the sole preserve of humans and primates. The pigeon has also been found to pass the ‘mirror test, which means it can recognize its reflection in a mirror, and is one of only 6 species, and the only non-mammal, that has this ability. Pigeons have also passed intelligence tests that show they can remember hundreds of images after several years. In fact, a new study showed that pigeons were able to categorize 128 photographs into 16 categories, like “shoes” and “trees”. They can also be taught to perform a sequence of movements and to discriminate subtle differences between two objects. As a bonus pigeons are also able to find their way home, even when they are blindfolded. They have better eyesight than humans do and have been trained by the US Coast Guard to spot orange life jackets of people lost at sea. They carried messages for the US Army during World Wars I and II, saving lives and providing vital strategic information. And now for number 7 but first be sure to subscribe!! 7.) Chimpanzees The chimpanzee is widely regarded as the animal that is most closely related to us. Studies show that we share over 90% of our DNA and our genomes are 98% identical. Studies that have been going on for the past 30 years have shown that chimpanzees can learn to take on a lot of tasks that humans do, such as household chores and even learning sign language. One chimpanzee, known as Lucy, learned over 100 signs and combined them to make original words. Another chimpanzee, known as Washoe, learned approximately 150 signs. She also excelled in areas like tickling, food, and play. She adopted another chimp called Loulis as her son and began teaching him the same things she had learned. In the past it was believed that using tools was a thing that only humans did but actually many other animals have proven to use tools too, so that doesn’t really separate us much. Chimps make and use their own tools, and even weapons to go out and hunt in organized groups and warfare on other groups of chimps. In several studies chimpanzees did better than humans on memory tests. They can work together to get things done and will console losers and help mediate within the group to restore peace after a fight. 6.) Pigs Pigs just might be the smartest domestic animals in the world. Even though pigs are known to be dirty, silly creatures, they are actually extremely clean and highly intelligent. A new study showed that pigs could use mirrors to find their food and could deceive other pigs and fake them out so they could eat more. Both domestic and wild species are known for their ability to adapt to a variety of different environmental conditions and quick learners. They can be trained to do all kinds of tricks and certain big breeds have become a favorite pet in the U.S. Pigs are also extremely flexible. They are curious and insightful animals who are widely accepted as being smarter than a 3 year old. They are highly social animals and enjoy exploring their environment, sunbathing, socializing and playing with their friends. They also dream like humans, snuggle, and sleep nose to nose. So...yeah, doesn’t make you feel good about eating them does it? 5.) Octopuses People have been admiring the octopus and its mysterious eyes for centuries! A roman writer, Claudius Aelianus wrote in the 3rd century that the octopus was crafty and mischievous. Octopuses have the largest brains of any invertebrate. The common octopus has 500 million neurons in its body but only about 130 million neurons are in its brain. A human has 100 billion neurons. The remaining octopus neurons are actually in its arms and they all form part of a large nervous system that helps it to use their tentacles to change color, touch, taste, and even grow back if something happens to it. In a sense, each arm has a mind of its own. Animals are good at different things- aren’t we all?- so it is hard to compare each animal’s intelligence to another but what octopuses can do is pretty awesome!! They can navigate mazes, use visual clues and even unscrew jars to get the food that’s inside. And they can even unscrew a jar when they are inside of it to get out! Octopuses are professional escape artists and can often be found in the hull of crabbing boats, feeding on the catch. These animals have incredibly keen eyesight, sense of touch, and are very fast. One example of what an octopus can do happened at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium when one of them decided to flood the tank by turning a valve and allowing hundreds of gallons of water to overflow the tank. Another example is Inky the octopus who made an escape at the National Aquarium of New Zealand. The lid of Inky's tank was left ajar at night, and he took advantage of this by climbing out, walking across a room to a drain opening, and squeezing down a 160ft (50 meters) pipe to the open ocean. Sound familiar? It is kind of the basis for the Disney-Pixar movie Finding Dory! In other aquariums, the octopuses have learned how to squirt jets of water to the light bulbs in their tank to short-circuit the power supply and turn the lights off. They also can recognize different people and will treat them differently. 4.) Dolphins You probably already know that dolphins are smart but just how smart they are might surprise you. If we consider ourselves as the most intelligent species, dolphins have a lot of similarities to our human intelligence. The more we study them, the smarter they are. The brain of an adult bottlenose dolphin is 25% heavier than an adult human brain. The ratio of brain size to body size is 5.6 whereas chimpanzees have 2.48. Each dolphin has their own unique whistle and the others of the pod will use it to call each other by name. Dolphins develop strong emotional attachments and show empathy towards others. They are often found staying with members of their group who are injured or sick. They also can learn extremely quickly which is why they are used at aquatic parks and even for military operations. Dolphins will take what they have learned and teach other dolphins to do the same things. A dolphin named Kelly at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in the US, learned that if she used her fish treats to lure a sea gull into the pool, they would give her lots of fish as a reward. She taught her calf and the other dolphins to do the same thing and now “gull-baiting” is a popular activity for these dolphins since they can get a lot more fish than just the one they are using as bait. They can learn things just by watching and love to play which is sign of deep intelligence. Sometimes they need to let off a little steam too! They can also get bored and be extremely cruel, depending on their mood and what is going on in their life. 3.) African Grey Parrots The African Grey is a species of parrot that is found in the West and Central African rainforest. Parrots have long been able to show that they can mimic human speech, but this parrot can associate words with their meaning and form small sentences. They can learn to speak up to 1,000 words. To prove that African grey parrots are one of the smartest species of birds, scientists have performed many studies testing their intelligence because of the amount of vocabulary they have to communicate with us. Dr. Irene Pepperberg was responsible for training Alex. Alex helped prove to the world that these birds have the mental and emotional capacities of a 5-year-old human child. They can solve puzzles, express emotions, and use new words to create new sentences they haven’t been taught just by understanding their meaning. 2.) Elephants In many cultures elephants are seen as a symbol of wisdom and are known for their incredible memories.They create mental maps and are said to remember exact locations of watering and feeding holes they haven’t visited for years. Elephants clean their food and use tools in various ways in the wild. They have the largest brain of any land animal and it is believed that elephants can learn different languages. Through a study in the UK, it was concluded that elephants learn how to tell a person’s age, ethnicity, and gender by the language and way the person speaks. Other studies have known that elephants have empathy and can show emotion. In another study, elephants used both physical contact and vocal sounds as forms of comfort, stroking one another with their trunks and emitting small chirps. Along with this, elephants also can mimic the voices of humans. In 2012, an Asian elephant named Koshik baffled researchers when they realized he could say five words in Korean. While it is almost certain Koshik doesn’t comprehend the meaning of the words, the researchers believe he began mimicking sound as a way to bond with humans, which were his only form of social contact as a young elephant. 1. Ravens Ravens aren’t just creepy birds, they have been admired throughout history for their wily ways and many cultures have stories about them. Ravens and their relatives such as crows and magpies are reputed to be really, really smart. Ravens have 15 to 33 categories of recorded vocalizations. They also play games and tricks on each other. National Geographic reported that experiments have shown that ravens have cognitive levels equal to people and some other great apes. They and their family members have great problem-solving capabilities and can plan for future events. Scientists used to think that that was a uniquely human characteristic since most animals live in the present. Thinking about the future is really abstract and even monkeys are unable to solve the tasks that these birds can. Crows living in urban areas are known to gather nuts from trees and then place them in the street for passing cars to crack open the shells. Then, after waiting patiently for the light to change, they go back to the street to retrieve their nutty snack. Crows have been proven to count, distinguish complex shapes, and perform observational learning tasks. The New Caledonian Crow has been intensely studied because of its ability to use tools in its every day search for food. They will make little knives by cutting leaves and stalks of grass. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the birds in the corvid family can also remember individual human faces so try not to bother them too much unless you are wearing a mask!

Contents

Overview

Neurons are the cells that transmit information in an animal's nervous system so that it can sense stimuli from its environment and behave accordingly. Not all animals have neurons; Trichoplax and sponges lack nerve cells altogether.

Neurons may be packed to form structures such as the brain of vertebrates or the neural ganglions of insects.

The number of neurons and their relative abundance in different parts of the brain is a determinant of neural function and, consequently, of behavior.

Whole nervous system

All numbers for neurons (except Caenorhabditis and Ciona), and all numbers for synapses (except Ciona) are estimations.

Name Neurons in the brain/whole nervous system Synapses Details Image Source
Sponge 0 [3]
Trichoplax 0 [4]
Ciona intestinalis larva (sea squirt) 231 8617 (central nervous system only) [5]

[6]

Asplanchna brightwellii (rotifer) about 200 Brain only [7]
Caenorhabditis elegans (roundworm) 302 ~7,500 [8]
Jellyfish 5,600 Hydra vulgaris (H. attenuate) [9]
Megaphragma mymaripenne 7,400 [10]
Box jellyfish 8,700–17,500 adult Tripedalia cystophora (8 mm diameter) – does not include 1000 neurons in each of the four rhopalia [11]
Medicinal leech 10,000 [12]
Pond snail 11,000 [13]
Sea slug 18,000 [14]
Amphioxus 20,000 central nervous system only [15]

[16]

Fruit fly 250,000 < 1×10^7 [17]

[18]

Larval zebrafish 100,000 [19]
Lobster 100,000 [20]
Ant 250,000 Varies per species [21]

[22]

Honey bee 960,000 ~1×10^9 [23]
Cockroach 1,000,000 [24]
Adult zebrafish ~10,000,000 cells (neurons + other) [25]
Frog 16,000,000 [26]
Naked mole-rat 26,880,000 [27]
Smoky shrew 36,000,000 [28]
Short-tailed shrew 52,000,000
Blarina carolinensisPCSL20933B.jpg
[28]
Hottentot golden mole 65,000,000 [29]
House mouse 71,000,000 ~1×10^12 [30]
Nile crocodile 80,500,000 [31]
Golden hamster 90,000,000 [30]
Ansell's mole-rat 103,000,000 [32]
Mashona mole-rat 113,000,000 [32]
Hairy-tailed mole 124,000,000 [29]
Eastern rock elephant shrew 129,000,000 [29]
Star-nosed mole 131,000,000 [28]
Zebra finch 131,000,000 Brain only
Taeniopygia guttata -Karratha, Pilbara, Western Australia, Australia -male-8 (2).jpg
[33]
Silvery mole-rat 148,000,000 [32]
Four-toed elephant shrew 157,000,000 [29]
Eurasian blackcap 157,000,000 [33]
Goldcrest 164,000,000 [33]
Cape mole-rat 170,000,000 [32]
Mechow's mole-rat 174,000,000 [32]
Damaraland mole-rat 178,000,000 [32]
Brown rat 200,000,000 ~4.48×10^11 [34]
Guyenne spiny rat 202,000,000 [29]
Eastern mole 204,000,000 [28]
Red junglefowl 221,000,000 [33]
Great tit 226,000,000 [33]
Green-rumped parrotlet 227,000,000 [33]
Guinea pig 240,000,000 [30]
Gray mouse lemur 254,710,000 [35]
Common treeshrew 261,000,000 [36]
Pigeon 310,000,000 Brain only [33]
Budgerigar 322,000,000 [33]
Cape dune mole-rat 361,000,000 [32]
Common blackbird 379,000,000 [33]
Ferret 404,000,000 [37]
Cockatiel 453,000,000 [33]
Banded mongoose 454,000,000 [37]
Gray squirrel 453,660,000 [27]
Prairie dog 473,940,000 [27]
Common starling 483,000,000 [33]
European rabbit 494,200,000 [27]
Octopus 500,000,000 [38]
Western tree hyrax 505,000,000 [29]
Common marmoset 636,000,000 [36]
Eastern rosella 642,000,000 [33]
Barn owl 690,000,000 [33]
Monk parakeet 697,000,000 [33]
Azure-winged magpie 741,000,000 [33]
Rock hyrax 756,000,000 [29]
Cat 760,000,000 ~1×10^13 [39]
Black-rumped agouti 857,000,000 [30]
Magpie 897,000,000 [33]
Common hill myna 906,000,000 [33]
Northern greater galago 936,000,000 [36]
Western jackdaw 968,000,000 [33]
Eurasian jay 1,085,000,000 [33]
Alexandrine parakeet 1,096,000,000 [33]
Tanimbar corella 1,161,000,000 [33]
Emu 1,335,000,000 [33]
Three-striped night monkey 1,468,000,000 [36]
Rook 1,509,000,000 [33]
Grey parrot 1,566,000,000 [33]
Capybara 1,600,000,000 [30]
Sulphur-crested cockatoo 2,122,000,000 [33]
Raccoon 2,148,000,000 [37]
Kea 2,149,000,000 [33]
Raven 2,171,000,000 Brain only [33]
Domestic pig 2,220,000,000 [40]
Dog 2,253,000,000 [37]
Springbok 2,720,000,000 [40]
Blesbok 3,060,000,000 [40]
Blue-and-yellow macaw 3,136,000,000 Brain only [33]
Common squirrel monkey 3,246,000,000 [36]
Crab-eating macaque 3,440,000,000 [35]
Tufted capuchin 3,691,000,000 [36]
Bonnet macaque 3,780,000,000 [35]
Striped hyena 3,885,000,000 [37]
Lion 4,667,000,000 [37]
Greater kudu 4,910,000,000 [40]
Rhesus macaque 6,376,000,000 [36]
Brown bear 9,586,000,000 [37]
Giraffe 10,750,000,000 [40]
Yellow baboon 10,950,000,000 [35]
Chimpanzee 28,000,000,000 [41]
Orangutan 32,600,000,000 [42]
Gorilla 33,400,000,000 [42]
Human 86,000,000,000 ~1.5×10^14 Synapses for average adult [43][44][45]
African elephant 257,000,000,000 [46][47]

Cerebral cortex

Non-mammals are included in this list because, although only mammals have a cerebral cortex, the pallium of reptiles and birds is functionally similar to the mammalian cortex and is therefore also frequently referred to as "cortex".

Name Neurons in the cerebral cortex Details Image Source
Naked mole-rat 6,150,000 H. glaber [27]
Ansell's mole-rat 10,000,000 Fukomys anselli [32]
Smoky shrew 10,000,000 Sorex fumeus [29]
Mashona mole-rat 12,000,000 Fukomys darlingi [32]
Northern short-tailed shrew 12,000,000 Blarina brevicauda [29]
House mouse 14,000,000 Mus musculus [29]
Hairy-tailed mole 16,000,000 Parascalops breweri [29]
Star-nosed mole 17,000,000 Condylura cristata [29]
Golden hamster 17,000,000 Mesocricetus auratus [29]
Damaraland mole-rat 21,000,000 Fukomys damarensis [32]
Hottentot golden mole 22,000,000 Amblysomus hottentotus [29]
Gray mouse lemur 22,310,000 Microcebus murinus [35]
Mechow's mole-rat 23,000,000 Fukomys mechowii [32]
Hedgehog 24,000,000 Subfamily Erinaceinae, unknown genus and species [48]
Silvery mole-rat 25,000,000 heliophobius argenteocinereus [32]
Cape mole-rat 26,000,000 Georychus capensis [32]
Guyenne spiny rat 26,000,000 Proechimys cayennensis [29]
Eastern rock elephant shrew 26,000,000 Elephantulus myurus [29]
Eeastern mole 27,000,000 Scalopus aquaticus [29]
Opossum 27,000,000 Didelphis virginiana [48]
Brown Rat 31,000,000 Rattus norvegicus [29]
Four-toed elephant shrew 34,000,000 Petrodromus tetradactylus [29]
Ferret 39,000,000 Mustela putorius furo [37]
Cape dune mole-rat 43,000,000 Bathyergus suillus [32]
Guinea pig 43,510,000 Cavia porcellus [27]
Eurasian blackcap 52,000,000 Sylvia atricapilla [33]
Prairie dog 53,770,000 Cynomys sp. [27]
Zebra finch 55,000,000 Taeniopygia guttata [33]
Common treeshrew 60,000,000 Tupaia glis [29]
Red junglefowl 61,000,000 Gallus gallus [33]
Goldcrest 64,000,000 Regulus regulus [33]
European rabbit 71,450,000 O. cuniculus [27]
Rock dove 72,000,000 Columba livia [33]
Eastern gray squirrel 77,330,000 S. carolinensis [27]
Great tit 83,000,000 Parus major [33]
Western tree hyrax 99,000,000 Dendrohyrax dorsalis [29]
Green-rumped parrotlet 103,000,000 Forpus passerinus [33]
Black-rumped agouti 113,000,000 Dasyprocta prymnolopha [2]
Banded mongoose 116,000,000 Mungos mungo [37]
Common blackbird 136,000,000 Turdus merula [33]
Budgerigar 149,000,000 Melopsittacus undulatus [33]
Rock hyrax 198,000,000 Procavia capensis [29]
Northern greater galago 226,000,000 Otolemur garnettii [29]
Common starling 226,000,000 Sturnus vulgaris [33]
Common marmoset 245,000,000 Callithrix jacchus [29]
Cat 250,000,000 Felis catus or Felis silvestris catus [37]
Brown bear 251,000,000 Ursus arctos [37]
Cockatiel 258,000,000 Nymphicus hollandicus [33]
Capybara 306,500,000 Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris [27]
Tarsius 310,000,000 Genus Tarsius, unknown species [49]
Eastern rosella 333,000,000 Platycercus eximius [33]
Goeldi's marmoset 357,130,000 Callimico goeldii [35]
Monk parakeet 396,000,000 Myiopsitta monachus [33]
Springbok 396,900,000 Antidorcas marsupialis [40]
Azure-winged magpie 400,000,000 Cyanopica cyanus [33]
Common hill myna 410,000,000 Gracula religiosa [33]
Domesticated pig 425,000,000 Sus scrofa [50]
Barn owl 437,000,000 Tyto alba [33]
Emu 439,000,000 Dromaius novaehollandiae [33]
Three-striped night monkey 442,000,000 Aotus trivirgatus [2]
Eurasian magpie 443,000,000 Pica pica [33]
Raccoon 453,000,000 Procyon lotor [51]
Western jackdaw 492,000,000 Coloeus monedula [33]
Striped hyena 495,000,000 Hyaena hyaena [37]
Eurasian jay 529,000,000 Garrulus glandarius [33]
Dog 530,000,000 Canis lupus familiaris [37]
Lion 545,000,000 Panthera leo [37]
Blesbok 570,670,000 Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi [40]
Alexandrine parakeet 575,000,000 Psittacula eupatria [33]
Tanimbar corella 599,000,000 Cacatua goffiniana [33]
Gracile capuchin monkey 650,000,000 Genus Cebus, unknown species [52]
Greater kudu 762,570,000 Tragelaphus strepsiceros [40]
Crab-eating macaque 800,960,000 Macaca fascicularis [35]
Rook 820,000,000 Corvus frugilegus [33]
Grey parrot 850,000,000 Psittacus erithacus [33]
Tufted capuchin 1,100,000,000 Sapajus apella [2]
Sulphur-crested cockatoo 1,135,000,000 Cacatua galerita [33]
Horse 1,200,000,000 Equus ferus caballus [28]
Raven 1,200,000,000 Corvus corax [33]
Kea 1,281,000,000 Nestor notabilis [33]
Common squirrel monkey 1,340,000,000 Saimiri sciureus [29]
Bonnet macaque 1,660,000,000 Macaca radiata [35]
Rhesus macaque 1,710,000,000 Macaca mulatta [29]
Giraffe 1,730,000,000 Giraffa camelopardalis [40]
Blue and yellow macaw 1,900,000,000 Ara ararauna [33]
Guenon 2,500,000,000 Genus Cercopithecus, unknown species [49]
Yellow baboon 2,880,000,000 Papio cynocephalus [35]
African elephant 5,600,000,000 Loxodonta africana [46]
Harp seal 6,100,000,000 Pagophilus groenlandicus [53]
Chimpanzee 6,200,000,000 Pan troglodytes [13]
Orangutan 8,900,000,000 Genus Pongo, unknown species [42]
Gorilla 9,100,000,000 Genus Gorilla, unknown species [42]
False killer whale 10,500,000,000 Pseudorca crassidens [28]
Common minke whale 12,800,000,000 Balaenoptera acutorostrata [54]
Harbor porpoise 14,900,000,000 Phocoena phocoena [53]
Fin whale 15,000,000,000 Balaenoptera physalus [55]
Human 16,000,000,000 Homo sapiens: (For average adult)
"The human cerebral cortex, with an average 1233 g and 16 billion neurons, is slightly below expectations for a primate brain of 1.5 kg, while the human cerebellum, at 154 g and 69 billion neurons, matches or even slightly exceeds the expected"
[43][2][56]
Long-finned pilot whale 37,200,000,000 Globicephala melas: "For the first time, we show that a species of dolphin has more neocortical neurons than any mammal studied to date including humans." [57]

See also

References

  1. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2012/feb/28/how-many-neurons-human-brain
  2. ^ a b c d e Herculano-Houzel, Suzana (9 November 2009). "The human brain in numbers: a linearly scaled-up primate brain". Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 3: 31. doi:10.3389/neuro.09.031.2009. PMC 2776484. PMID 19915731.
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