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Bigger Is Better When It Comes to the Brain Size

70 percent out of the tested bears managed to open the latched box.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Polar bears and raccoons proved to the scientists that bigger is better when it comes to the brain size. A team of scientists from the Wyoming University has conducted a study on a wide sample of mammals in order to determine if brain size plays a role in the animal’s capacity to solve a problem.

The team led by assistant professor Sarah Benson established that carnivorous mammals with a larger brain in proportion to their size are more capable of solving a problem that uses logic, than animals with a smaller one.

In order to reach these conclusions, the team devised an experiment plan that was meant to analyze the problem-solving capacities of a wide sum of mammals. In order for the test to be applied to both carnivorous and omnivorous mammals, the researchers devised a treat box.

They designed a box-sized cage that could be opened with a latch bolt. All that the animals involved in the experiment had to do was to lift the latch bolt and pull it in order to get to what was placed inside the cage. To make the mammals more invested in the experiment, the researchers used a box-sized cage that they filled with a food that was appealing to the animal to which it was given.

An approximate 140 mammals were included in the experiment from different zoos in America. Among these 140 animals, there were 39 different species of carnivorous mammals, like polar bears, arctic foxes, spotted hyenas, wolves, tigers, mongooses and raccoons.

After the selection was done, the animals were given the box and thirty minutes to open it. All of the efforts were filmed by the team.

According to the footage, the polar bears actually took their time to study the cage before trying to open it. So did the raccoons. An approximate of 70 percent of the bears managed to open the box in time.

In total, only 35 percent of the tested animals managed to get to the caged goodies, this translates into 49 animals that got their treats.

Additional information gathered by the team of researchers led by Sarah Benson concerns the fact that the smaller animals had a bigger rate of success in opening the latched box than the big ones which preferred to resort to violence and smash the box. Even though the animals were small, they had a bigger brain in proportion to their body.

Also, the team observed that animals that usually live in social circles managed registered a bigger level of success than solitary animals.

It seems that the animals that participated in the study convinced the scientists that bigger is better when it comes to the brain size.

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