It looks like there’s a reason why Lassie was smarter than Old Yeller. (It’s called science.)
Research to be published in Biology Letters, shows sex differences matter when it comes to how the brain works in animals as well as humans.
(More on TIME.com: See a dozen bizarre animal friendships)
Scientists at the University of Vienna tested 50 pet dogs, to try and determine whether the pooches would notice a ball that “inexplicably grew or shrank.” Researchers would roll a ball behind a screen, wait a moment, and then roll a larger ball out on the other side.
Though the researchers weren’t testing for different reactions between the sexes they did notice that female dogs tended to pause and stare after a larger ball emerge, indicating that they recognized a change. Male dogs, however, carried on as if nothing was amiss.
The researchers couldn’t say for sure if the male dogs didn’t react because they didn’t notice the difference or because they didn’t actually care about the size difference.
NewsFeed can’t say for certain, but given what we know of the human male brain and its general preoccupation with size, had the male dogs had the capacity to recognize the difference, they definitely would have cared. (via Discovery News)