In the animal world-mathematicians: who are best able to consider
MOSCOW, June 14 — RIA Novosti, Alfia Enikeeva. Most living creatures — from insects to primates — every day to solve simple arithmetic problems. About why animals numeracy and who in the wild will not survive without mathematics — in the material RIA Novosti.
Man as a species has got a unique brain: a large (compared to body weight), and incredibly complex. Therefore, Homo sapiens is able to learn, to think abstractly, to consider and to talk. The fee for cognitive ability is high: if at rest, the brain of our closest relatives, the primates, is content to eight percent of the total reserves of the organism, the human mental apparatus consumes up to a quarter of the body’s energy.
According to the latest research, to operate with abstract concepts and count to ten, does not necessarily have in my head is so heavy and greedy for power “computer”. Many animals, whose brains are in the tens of thousands of times smaller than a human, quite capable of elementary mathematics and even know what the zero.
Bee “about zero”
Honeybees (Apis mellifera) is not only able to count, but also perceive the concept of NolI have it correct in the number series, say scientists in a recent article of the journal Science.
In Royal Melbourne Institute of technology (Australia) conducted the following experiment. Drops of sweet water scientists lure the bees to the screen with a card on which was depicted from two to five objects.
One group of bees were trained to choose a target with a large number of figures, the second less so. When insects are accustomed to fly to the card with the minimum number of objects showed blank, they — with a frequency of 64% was allocated. Bees even faster coped with the task, if a blank card is shown along with those where there were four or five objects.
It’s not the only insects with a talent for mathematics. As shown by the experiments of the Russian scientists, the ants also know how to read within the first tens, add, subtract and actively use it when searching for food.
Considers fish heads
Although bees see, what is zero, they consider only within-five — at least according to the available data.
Little ray-finned fish Gambusia (Gambusia holbrooki) inhabiting the waters of North America, has a score to 16.
For more than ten years at the University of Padua (Italy) study these fishes. In 2008, researchers accidentally discovered that the female of Gambusia in case of danger, always joins the larger group of relatives. It is easy to distinguish how many individuals in each flock of two, three or four. But if forced to choose between groups of four or five individuals, there are difficulties. Further, the number of fish determines only at a ratio of one to two, for example four against eight or eight to 16.
Subsequently, scientists found that Gambusia able to consider not only compatriots, but also abstract objects.
Fish distinguishes between a number of geometric shapes of different sizes, shapes and their location relative to each other.
To count to eat
Numeracy for Gambusia — a matter of life and death, as at the approach of the predator, the speed and accuracy of decision making depends on the number of fish in the pack.
Squid-pharaohs (Sepia pharaonis) use math for the opposite purpose — they analyze potential prey and choose to attack a larger group of shrimp.
Laboratory experiments by Chinese scientists have shown that these molluscs are considered as the minimum to five.
The researchers were immersed in aquariums with squid transparent boxes with two compartments, where there were different number of crustaceans. Cephalopods have always preferred several shrimp one, but the options that require a more accurate account — for example, two species against three caused minor difficulties. However, most squid were found the right decision.
So, squid can count, but in what range, is unclear — in the course of experiments, scientists placed in each compartment with the extraction of not more than five shrimp.
Of course, the most extraordinary abilities possessed African grey parrot named Alex, who could count to six, familiar with the concept of zero and even learn about a hundred words. And he is not just repeating people, but it was communicated.