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Are Animals Capable of Counting?

There is evidence that a variety of creatures, from insects to primates, can recognize number patterns. Perhaps the closest examples of animals that are capable of counting in a way similar to humans are monkeys and lemurs, who have been observed demonstrating proficiency in ordinal relations, or ordering numbers from lowest to highest. A study has even indicated that honey bees are able to perform basic counting. An experiment in which nectar was placed within a tunnel with numbered markers and then removed showed that honeybees would return to where the nectar was by counting up to four markers.

More about animals’ counting capabilities :

  • The red-backed salamander can differentiate between one, two, and three, according to an experiment in which the salamanders would select tubes filled with various numbers of fruit flies.
  • In 1891, a horse named Clever Hans drew worldwide publicity for his apparent ability to tap out the answers to arithmetic problems. However, a scientific investigation concluded that the horse was responding to the subconscious body language of his trainer to determine when to stop “counting.”
  • The American coot, a bird similar to a duck, counts when laying eggs and stops at a certain amount so she knows to ignore any "parasitic" eggs left in the nest by other birds.
Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.

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Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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