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Can animals count?

Gadagkar, R (1995) Can animals count? In: Current Science, 68 (12). pp. 1180-1182.

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Ten years ago Tetsuro Matsuzawa of the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University in Japan put a 5-year-old female chimpanzee named Ai through a severe test and she came out with flying colours. Matsuzawa taught Ai to distinguish between 14 different objects, namely, padlock, glove, shoe, glass, bowl, brick, rope, paper, ball, box, spoon, brush, key and pencil. Ai was shown one of these objects on a computer screen and she had to press· a key that she had been taught to associate with that object. Similarly, Ai was taught to identify 11 colours, namely, red. orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, white, grey and black. Finally, Ai was also taught to identify numbers from. I to 6 by pressing the appropriate key when she was shown a certain number of objects on the computer screen. In the final exam she was shown any one of the five objects, pencil, paper, brick, spoon and toothbrush, The objects could be red, blue, yellow, green or black and there could be anywhere from I to 5 of these objects. This makes 125 possible combinations. Ai was given 830 tests in each of which she was required to itlenti(' correctly the object, its colour and the number of objects. Her accurary swre exceeded 98.5%, enough to gain her entrance to any llT of her choice! And it is not as if Ai had not worked hard. In 95 separate sessions, she had spent a total of 68 hours and 21 minutes at the computer and had gone through 28, 799 trials before taking the final exam. But the bottom line is that chimps can count'. It is a bold step from this to ask if honey bees can also count. but that is exactly what Chittka and Geiger at the Institute for Neurobiology at Berlin have done2.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Current Science
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: copyright to this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences
Keywords: Count, Subitizing, Protocounting
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2021 09:48
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 09:48
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/67911

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