So are dogs smarter than other animals? Well, maybe not. But they are arguably more present in our lives, says Buchsbaum. That’s a reason to study their brains. Another reason, says Lea, is that they can take us far in studies of animal cognition, because they are naturally comfortable around us. They make good test subjects. Still, he says, this new paper highlights other species that need more study. Carnivorans in general, for instance, haven’t often been researched. Without those studies, there’s no way to know how dogs measure up. “We’d know a lot more about dogs if we knew more about the intelligence of other species that are not dogs,” he says.