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When it comes to the brain, does size really matter? For scientists, the brain has long been one of the most fascinating components in animals and there's still a great deal of research that can be done. For instance, does size play a factor in an animal's intelligence? It's not a simple question to answer. The blue whale, the largest animal that has ever lived on the planet, has a brain that weighs 15 pounds (6.8 kg). By comparison, the human brain has an average weight of 3 pounds (1.4 kg). If we look at brains of blue whales and humans by overall bodyweight, we find they constitute .007 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
Then, there's a specific formula known as the "encephalization quotient," which tries to take a broader look at the size of the brain in animals, in relation to other factors. The EQ measures the ratio of an animal's brain and body size relative to other animals of similar size. The animals with the highest EQ are humans, followed by whale dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Commerson's dolphins, and macaques.
Critics say the EQ is not the most accurate way of comparing brain size and intelligence. They say it overlooks certain crucial parts of the brain, including the cerebral cortex and the number of folds in the brain and their corresponding surface area. Other brain experts believe brain signals are the key measures of intelligence. Most species have the same proteins in their neural synapses, but the important measurement is the number of gene duplication of these particular proteins. On top of that, the way these proteins are constructed and interact appear to play a role in overall intelligence.
What do you think? Let us know down in the comments below.
Are Big Brains Smarter? (Live Science)
"This question is mired in many unknowns. For one, scientists still debate over the definition of intelligence. For any IQ definition, how do you measure it?"
Fact or Fiction: When It Comes to Intelligence, Does Brain Size Matter? (Scientific American)
"New scientific studies across several animal species, including humans, are challenging the notion that brain size alone is a measure of intelligence."