Best animals at maths

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 in Mind and senses, Skills

Best animals at maths

 

We’re not the only who can count. Primates have proven to be articulate with numbers and birds can process quantities without a second thought – and this is all before we’ve mentioned those phenomenally smart number crunching dolphins.

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BRAINY BLOWHOLES – THE DOLPHIN

The dolphin is widely said to be one of the smartest non-primate creatures on the planet – and the highly complex mathematic techniques it uses while hunting is said to vastly outfox our own mental capacities!  It is said that dolphins use a complex series of calculations through ‘clicks’ while effectively being blinded with bubbles – allowing them to locate prey.  Explaining the calculations in full may need you to have a degree in Maths!

 

RENOWNED REDBREAST – THE ROBIN

While robin are certainly better known for their plumage  and for bob-bob-bobbing along, a University study in New Zealand has found that the pocket-sized avians can distinguish between numbers of mealworms – they’ve not only proven to head for holes packed with more of their prey, but the research tests have proven they’re aware if the number of worms has decreased!

 

BRILLIANT BUMBLER – THE HONEY BEE

The bee is already a remarkable animal – it can dance and sniff out bomb ingredients – but it can also count! Various studies have proven that bees will use basic counting to remember a route from their hive to a source of food – which they then communicate back to their family and friends by dancing.  One study in particular found that their maximum counting ability goes no higher than four – but that’s still pretty remarkable!

 

CANINE GENIUS  - AMAZING MAGGIE 

In this video, a Jack Russell called Maggie appears to be able to count and do basic arithmetic. We’re not sure if Maggie has just been exceptionally well trained or this is some sort of elaborate trick. Not that it matters, either way, Maggie is certainly one smart dog.

 

POINDEXTER PRIMATE – THE RHESUS MONKEY

The rhesus monkey is a popular source for research due to its incredible mental powers – such as its memory – and for its closeness to humans in the evolutionary chain.  It has also been shown to be able to both understand basic maths concepts and can solve simple addition problems.  It’s also able to distinguish how many others are near it purely from the noises that are being made.

 

Why do animals count? It’s generally accepted that counting creatures do simple arithmetic out of necessity and nature as opposed to something they actively attempt. Duke University’s Elizabeth Branning concludes that this ability is both innate, and that it likely stems from foraging in the wild – meaning it’s a useful skill to find bigger sources of food in order to stay alive.

 

PROFESSOR POULTRY – THE CHICKEN

You may have thought that the chicken is one of the planet’s dopiest creatures, but you’d be wrong. Even as a youngster this clucking farmyard dweller has shown great ability during testing to be able to distinguish between greater and smaller piles of objects – even when concealed behind screens!  This type of cognition was originally thought to be only displayed in primates.

 

INTELLIGENT INSECT – THE ANT

Ants are known for traversing huge distances between their hill homes and sources of food – so it’d be helpful to have some sort of internal compass to help them find their way there and back.  Luckily, they do!  Researchers suggest that use basic mental maths to calculate how far they’ve travelled, using the data to lead them back home safely.  While it’s not quite the same as having as a pedometer – it’s still an impressive cognitive effort for such a tiny creature.

 

METICULOUS MADAGASCAN – THE RING-TAILED LEMUR

The lemur is an often-overlooked primate in the intelligence stakes – mainly due to rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees taking a lot of the glory – but tests have proven that they able to calculate mathematic issues as complex as item listing. Studies at Duke University, USA, have seen that lemurs are more than willing and able to match pairs of pictures they’ve  seen in lists – for a tasty reward, of course.

 

CLEVER CLOPPER – CLEVER HANS

Clever Hans was a German horse who came to media  attention in the late 19th century after his owner claimed the animal to be able to count!  He would respond to written or spoken questions by tapping his hoof the correct number of times – and had an amazing success rate.  However, it was discovered that Hans was actually picking up on the body language of his questioner – and would stop tapping if the asker had become less tense!

 

 

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