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.

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More Info: Reuters

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