Can animals count is one of those questions that to me, is alongside can animals talk? Well it certainly was until after leaving a recent input on the question. It seems ridiculous to say that animals can count although upon further research I think it may seem ridiculous to say that they have no number sense at all.
The clever hans effect is something that we came across in today’s input. This input is all to do with a horse named hands who’s owner, believed that they had trained him to add, multiply, subtract, understand fractions and other mathematical things. He would be asked a question by his owner and would respond his answer with the tapping of his hoof. Scientists were amazed at this discovery as It was observed through experiments that hans would answer correctly 89% of the time which is a pretty amazing figure for a horse.
It was then found upon further tests and discoveries that hans in fact was not responding to the maths question but to his owners reactions. He knew when to gradually slow down the tapping of his hoof and to eventually stop.
Although not responding to the mathematical questions, this was still a very clever horse as he knew what was expected off him and how to react to things. This though put a doubt into mind wether I think animals can count or not.
When I came home I then read into an article on the BBC website as to wether or not animals can count and found out some interesting stuff.
An interesting read I found was that Serengeti lions and their ability to look at smaller and large groups and know what one is the biggest. This ultimately is a basic maths skill as it is something that we teach within a classroom. We teach children to look at quantities and to know which one is largest and smallest.
Another interesting read within this article was about animals when they mate. It can be difficult for animals to mate as many of them look very similar. Frogs as an animal, help find a mate by the pulses in their croak. They need to count the number of pulses in their croak and can do so in phrases of up to 10 notes long. It is believed that they measure the volume and length of the others croak.
Again this shows that animals do have a sense of numeracy and maths.
For one I am still dubious as to my answer on this particular subject, although the after some research I am swaying more towards believing that they can. Is has been a to
If that has very much interested me and is something that I would again, look into in the future.