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What Animal Has The Biggest Brain

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Which Animal Has The Smallest Brain

Which animal has the biggest brain?

Question #105177. Asked by scottietwenty3. Last updated May 27 2021.

10Currently voted the best answer.Response last updated by CmdrK on May 27 2021.11752 replies7Response last updated by CmdrK on May 27 2021.2344 replies6May 01 2009, 12:50 AM

Evolving A Bigger Brain Isn’t Always About Intelligence

Evolution does not consistently favour bigger brains. Instead, it’s more common for mammals to have evolved smaller body sizes which makes it look like the brain is getting bigger.

A study of 1,400 living and extinct mammal brains, , has given researchers an in-depth timeline of how mammal brains and bodies have evolved over the last 150 million years.

They have found a simple story, but one that completely changes our previously held perception that cognition is the primary driver of brain size evolution in mammals.

Over nearly 200 million years of mammal evolution, the researchers have shown that brain size is actually secondary to body size. Their research also shows that there are many different evolutionary paths to having a big brain.

Prof. Anjali Goswami, a Research Leader at the Natural History Museum and an author of the study, explains ‘A lot of the time where it looks like brain size in increasing, it’s actually not that brains are getting bigger, but evolution is acting to decrease body size.’

Habitat, diet, reproduction and metabolism all impact body size and may be more consequential for survival compared to cognition and intelligence.

The study included data from not just living mammals but also 107 mammal fossils including ancient whales and the oldest Old World monkey skull ever found. Looking at fossils gave the researchers a more accurate picture of how brain and body sizes have changed through time.

Animals That Dont Have A Brain: Corals

Irina Markova/

The coral and jellyfish are part of the Cnidarians family. Their bodies are asymmetric and they both sting their enemies. Categorized as plants, coral is actually a living animal without a brain.

Heres the great distinction between plants and animals: animals seek food the plant produces its own. The coral joins the animal in seeking food. They make up small lots of tiny creatures. These coral polyps munch on zooplankton lingering in the ocean. Coral catches the plankton with their retractable tentacles and then they feed.

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Is The Sperm Whale The Biggest Animal Since It Has The Biggest Brain

Surprisingly, the sperm whale is not the largest animal on the planet currently that would be the blue whale. However, their brain sizes are quite different. For example, a blue whale weighs from 280,000 pounds to 330,000 pounds, and its brain size is usually no more than 15 pounds. A sperm whale at its most will weigh 90,000 lb, and its brain weighs up to 20 pounds.

Herschel Hoffmeyer/

The sperm whale is one of three whales that belongs to the Physeteroidea family. It is the last remaining whale that belongs to the Physeter genus. The sperm whale is also the largest toothed whale and the largest toothed predator on the planet! This whale has little to no predators due to its size. However, it is possible for a pod of orcas to attack a young sperm whale or an injured adult sperm whale.

Other Animals With A Big Brain

Human, elephant, dolphin, gorilla, macaque, dog, cat, mouse brains ...

Interestingly, the animal with the second largest brain on earth is also a sea creature. The killer whale, more commonly known as the orca, is also a toothed whale of considerable size. In fact, in its family, the oceanic dolphin family, the orca is the most enormous of them all. Their brains weight averages between 12 and 15 pounds. Their intelligence is higher than most creatures even though it cannot be measured for certain. The idea that they are smart is more of a human perception.

The elephant is also another creature of immense size and a large brain. Elephant brains weight about 11 pounds. However, their large brains are proportionally smaller. When they are born, elephant brains already have about 30-40% of the weight they will have when the elephant reaches adulthood. The temporal lobes are extremely large with the cerebellum and cerebrum well developed. The bottlenose dolphin is also another creature that has a large brain. Their brains average between 3.3 and 3.7 pounds.

While brain sizes vary with size, the relationship is hardly proportional. In fact, the creature with the largest ratio is none other than the tiny shrew. Also, predators tend to have larger brains than their prey. The bigger the brain also means that the majority of the brain size is occupied by the cortex.

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No Single Evolutionary Path To A Bigger Brain

‘When researchers talk about brain size what we usually mean is relative brain size, which takes into account the relationship between your body and the brain,’ says Anjali.

‘For example, a blue whale has a much bigger brain than humans, but itâs much smaller than ours would be if you blew a human up to the size of a blue whale without changing our proportions.’

‘In this study, we developed a method that discriminated brain size from body size and looked at how both are evolving separately. This gives us an entirely new, and surprising, picture of how mammals evolve big brains.’

Over evolutionary time, ‘big-brained’ mammals including humans, dolphins and elephants have attained their proportions in different ways.

Elephants have increased their body size but, perhaps surprisingly, continued to increase their brain size even more.

Great apes, such as chimpanzees and gorillas, show a wide variety of body sizes, with a general trend towards increases in both brain and body size.

In comparison, ancestral hominins , showed a relative decrease in body size and increase in brain size compared to other great apes. This suggests that cognition was likely a factor in driving brain size evolution of our species.

An artist’s impression of mammal brain evolution, image by Javier Lazaro Tapia

Woodpeckers Have A Super

Just take a moment to picture a woodpecker slamming its face into a tree over and over and over. Well, because it does this as a way of life, it has a unique spongey skull and neck muscles that protect the brain from the repetitive impact. In addition to that, a woodpecker has a third eyelid to ensure its eyeballs literally don’t pop out of its head.

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Animals That Dont Have A Brain: Sea Sponges

Waste from the ocean helps sea sponges survive.

FP media/

Among the animal kingdoms most primitive animals, the sea sponge stays relatively immobile. Its the water that moves them around and makes them look like theyre dancing. Their survival centers around filtering detritus from the ocean. They have no brains, organs, neurons, or tissue.

What the sea sponge has in common with humans is a genetic component that resembles synapses. Synapses use neurotransmitters to carry messages across the synaptic gap.

Heres another curious factoid about this animal: When a foreign object gets into their system, the creature draws in water and then squirts it out through a big sneeze. Thats a recent scientific discovery, and it implies that despite a lack of a brain, the sea sponge is aware of its ecosystem.

Do Dogs Have The Largest Brain

What Animal Has the Largest Brain?

Dog is not the largest brain, but has the most neurons: a trade-off between weight and number of neurons in the cerebral cortex of large flesh species. The frontier of neuroanatomy. 11: 118. doi: 10.3389 / fnana. 2017.00118. List of Animals by Number of Search: Does the dog have the largest brain?

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A Sperm Whale Has The Biggest Brain Of Any Mammal But Compared To Its Body Size Its Brain Is Actually Teeny Tiny

Even though a sperm whale has the biggest brain of any animal, its brain is not exceptionally big compared to its massive body size. An average sperm whale’s brain weighs 17 pounds. For comparison, a human’s brain weighs around three pounds, or about two percent of its body weight. A sperm whale can reach up to 45 tons so their brain only accounts for 0.00019 percent of their body weight.

Big Litter Size Means Smaller Brains In Marsupials

In another study, Anjali and her team have found that the only consistent predictor of marsupial brain size is the size of a mother’s litter.

The paper, , has found that dividing the mother’s energy between many babies has evolutionarily impacted the size of their brains.

‘Maternal energy is a big driver of brain evolution because brains are energetically expensive and you need a high calorie diet to maintain a big brain,’ says Anjali.

The study looked at a range of factors including gestation and lactation times, both of which have previously been suggested to drive the evolution of big brains, but litter size emerged as the only significant predictor of brain size.

‘This emphasizes the high importance of reproductive investment for the evolution of relatively larger mammalian brains,’ says Anjali.

A small marsupial eating an insect from French Guiana, image by Anne-Claire Fabre

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What Is The Smallest Brain Ever Seen

Scientists have finally found the smallest brain weve ever seen, and it belongs to the lagworm. This cousin of the humble earthworm has neurons that are very similar to those in the human brain, even though they are only the width of human hair. The worlds smallest animal with a brain has been revealed Search: What is the smallest brain youve ever seen?

What Is The Diet Of A Blue Whale

Biggest Brain Animal : 80 Chihuahua Facts About The World S Smallest ...

The primary food source for blue whales is krill, a tiny crustacean that resembles a shrimp. Blue whales are baleen whales that live in the ocean and eat krill as their primary food source. They can eat more food in a single sitting than any other animal on the planet. This is because they swim through krill swarms with their mouths wide open. According to some estimates, it takes a blue whale 2,200 pounds of krill per day to fill its stomach. However, it can also eat up to 8,000 pounds of krill per day!

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Animals That Dont Have A Brain: Jellyfish

Jellyfish function using only sensory nerves.

Chai Seamaker/

Called jellies, this family of translucent creatures is unique. All other creatures without brains tend to be immobile, often spending their entire existence in a single spot. Jellyfish move with the ocean current. They also squirt water that can move them forward.

The jellyfish functions through a network of sensory nerves. Tentacles react to foreign objects with a shooting sting. That sting releases a toxin capable of neutralizing or killing the intruder.

Relative Brain Size Is Not Always A Measure For Intelligence

The authors say that these complex patterns urge a re-evaluation of the deeply rooted paradigm that comparing brain size to body size for any species provides a measure of the species’ intelligence. At first sight, the importance of taking the evolutionary trajectory of body size into account may seem unimportant, says Jeroen Smaers, an evolutionary biologist at Stony Brook University and first author on the study. After all, many of the big-brained mammals such as elephants, dolphins, and great apes also have a high brain-to-body size. But this is not always the case. The California sea lion, for example, has a low relative brain size, which lies in contrast to their remarkable intelligence.

Weve overturned a long-standing dogma that relative brain size can be equivocated with intelligence, says Kamran Safi, a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and senior author on the study. Sometimes, relatively big brains can be the end result of a gradual decrease in body size to suit a new habitat or way of movingin other words, nothing to do with intelligence at all. Using relative brain size as a proxy for cognitive capacity must be set against an animals evolutionary history and the nuances in the way brain and body have changed over the tree of life.

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Is The Sperm Whale The Smartest Since It Has The Biggest Brain

It is not always the case that a larger brain equals a smarter brain. The independent evolution of a species usually determines the intelligence of an animal. Aside from sperm whales and other creatures with bigger brains, it was formerly thought that primates had the most intelligent brains. This is due to their long evolutionary history. When attempting to ascertain this, scientists will assess the animals self-awareness, self-control, memory, and a host of other cognitive abilities. Because of this, humans are the most intelligent species, even though their brains only weigh 3 pounds!

Why Are Human Brains The Biggest

Animal Brain Size Comparison | Which Animal Has The Biggest Brain?

Category: Biology Published: October 24, 2013

The brains of humans are not the biggest compared to all other animals. The average human brain has a mass of about 1 kg. In contrast, the brain of a sperm whale has a mass of 8 kg and that of an elephant has a mass of 5 kg. You may be tempted to think that bigger brains means smarter and that because humans are the smartest animals, we must have the biggest brains. But biology does not work that way. When an animal has a larger overall size, all of its organs must be generally bigger just to keep it alive. A sperm whale weighs 35 to 45 metric tons and stretches about 15 meters long. With so much biological tissue to take care of, the sperm whale needs a giant heart to keep blood pumping to all this tissue, giant lungs to provide oxygen to all this tissue, and a giant brain to coordinate it all. The sperm whale needs a giant brain not because it is intelligent, but because it has so much low-level functions to carry out with such a huge body.

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What Is The Difference Between Humans And Animals Brain

The main difference between humans brain and animals brain is that humans brain has a remarkable cognitive capacity, which is a crowning achievement of evolution whereas animals brain shows comparatively less cognitive capacity. Furthermore, the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for the higher cognitive capacity of the human brain is disproportionately large, accounting for more than 80% of the total brain mass while the cerebral cortex of the animal brain is not significantly large.

Humans brain and animals brain are one of the two parts of the central nervous system responsible for thoughts, memory, and the movement of the body.

Animals That Dont Have A Brain: Oysters

They may not have a brain, but an oysters ability to make pearls is notable.

Relative to the clam, the oyster is infamous for enclosing precious pearls in its shell. But its a treasure hunt since your odds of finding a perfect pearl are roughly one in a million.

Oysters filter water and remove organic particles like plankton to eat them. They can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day, giving them enough food to lasts a while.

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How Much Does The Sperm Whales Brain Weigh


An average sperm whale has a brain volume of 8,000 cubic millimeters and can weigh up to 20 pounds. The whales echolocation is said to be increased by its massive size. To search for food, whales rely on echolocation, a unique kind of communication. In order to communicate, whales produce high-frequency noises through their respiratory system. Knowing this, its easy to see why these giants can eat almost 2,000 pounds of food every day. They are much more adept at tracking down their food!

Similarities Between Humans And Animals Brain

Sperm Whale: The Record
  • Humans and animals brain are one of the two components of the central nervous system while the second component is the spinal cord.
  • Both occur in the head region of the body.
  • Besides, the brain of the vertebrate animals occurs inside the skull, a cover made up of bones.
  • The brain of both is made up of neurons and supporting cells called neuroglia.
  • Also, the main parts of the vertebrate brain are telencephalon, diencephalon, midbrain, cerebellum, pons, and medulla.
  • Furthermore, the main function of both the brains is to control thoughts, memory, and the movement of the body.

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Animals That Dont Have A Brain: Man

The man-o-war doesnt have a head to even store a brain.


Another wobbly-like critter with a venomous sting, the Portuguese man-o-war is up there on the list of strangest animals on the planet.

While we refer to the creature in the singular, we should actually say man-o-wars. You see, the animal is actually a colony of polyps, also referred to as zooids. Connected by tissue, the colony cannot survive individually.

The creature has a deadly sting, but thats useless against its greatest foe, the Sea Turtle. The man-of-wars stinger cannot penetrate the turtles thick skin. Even a sting to the tongue doesnt deter the sea turtle. The fish also goes to the mat with birds. The man-o-war dives deep when birds approach and shoots gas from its bladders.

Animals That Dont Have A Brain: Starfish

Starfish use the tiny eyes at the end of their arms to distinguish between light and dark.


The starfish is a cousin of the sea urchin. But wait for it! its not a fish. The truth is this species cant swim. Starfish spend all their time at the bottom of the ocean. Though you can find them floating or washed ashore, thats never by choice!

At the end of each arm, the creatures have tiny eyes that they use to distinguish dark from light. The starfish has no use for a brain. It uses basic sensors to stay alert for enemies and food.

Starfish have five to 40 spiky arms. If a predator should bite off an arm , the animal can regenerate them.

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