Big Head

Oct 20 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Meandering through Wikipedia during my lunch break I came across this list of animals sorted by number of neurons. And learned that elephants have about twice as many neurons than people (200 vs. 100 billion). And pilot whales have about three times more neurons in their cerebral cortex than people have. So why aren't they smarter than us? Maybe they just have less synapses. Or maybe they are secretly plotting to take over the world. Clearly there's not a direct correlation between intelligence and neuron number since cats have about twice as many cortical neurons than dogs, and we all know that dogs are way smarter than stupid cats. I also find it remarkable that octopuses have 300 million neurons, about 20 times more than a frog. Of course these are not necessarily in its brain.

This list took me to an even more interesting set of lists of brain facts, where I learned that our brain weighs about as much as that of a dolphin and slightly more than a walrus' brain. Of course I was not surprised that our brain weighs more than 40 times as that of a stupid cat. Furthermore, the surface area of our cerebral cortex is about 2/3 smaller than a dolphin's and 30 times larger than a stupid cat's. I also learned that we lose about 85,000 cortical neurons a day, or about 1 per second. You just lost about sixty reading my stupid blog post. Pop! There goes another one...

Did you know that we can hear sounds between 20 and 20,000 Hz when we are young, but when we are old our range is reduced to 50 to 8,000 Hz? So if you want grandpa not to hear your conversation, speak in a really squeaky voice. Mice hear between 1,000 - 40,000 Hz and our hearing range is closest to that of elephants (1-20,000Hz). But elephants can pick up very low frequencies. They would make good bass players.

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