Counting was once considered to be a human-only ability, … However, research published in the thesis Trends in Ecology and Evolution proves that the basic abilities of numbers Market in the animal kingdom is very common, and this can also be an advantage to help them survive better in harsh natural environments.
In addition to helping avoid predators, this “counting” ability is also a tool to help animals cope with a variety of other problems, such as finding a mate, foraging and navigating. .
Through data sources from monitoring and analysis processes, scientists have synthesized all studies related to this topic and concluded that, from animals such as bees, gibbons to wolves, there are many animals possessing the ability to process and display things similar to numbers – and such manifestations are described as a “counting” skill. Moreover, this new study also mentioned that this “strength in mathematics” also helps animals survive better in the extremely harsh wild environment.
Benefits of ‘counting’ in the animal kingdom
Andreas Nieder – an expert in the field of neuroscience at the University of Tuebingen, Germany, has conducted a study of nearly 150 reports relating to the ways in which animals perceive numbers. Andreas concludes that numerical perception exists in most animals on Earth; especially the ability to use a numbering system to find food.
Results in the laboratory study environment show that the Eastern purple toad uses a so-called “approximate number system” to choose between a multitude of different foods. For toads / frogs / amphibians, the choice of servings with 3 or 4 prey is the same, but when the number of prey is 3: 6 or 4: 8, they will always choose the portion with larger quantity.
The ability to recognize numbers has also been shown to exist in honey bees, as they use this ability to remember the number of obstacles on their way from the hive to where they find honey, thereby helping them. Can remember the way back to the nest. Similarly, desert ants – with the scientific name Cataglyphis fortis, also use step counting to determine the distance from their nest to the foraging place.
For other animals, for example gray wolves, they need to know the number of individuals in the herd in order to be able to develop a suitable hunting plan. A pack of about 6-8 wolves is suitable for hunting gray elk or elk; and if you want to hunt a Bison bison, the number of wolves in the herd needs about 13.
In animals commonly considered prey, they use their quantitative perception to increase a hunter’s ability to escape from the clutches. Moose often scatter in small flocks or gather in a large group to avoid encountering wolves; and in biology, they describe this behavior as a “quantitatively safe” tactic.
Fight back or run away
In fact, animals also have the ability to use the tactic of “knowing people, hundreds of victories” to assess the strength and number of opponents before making a decision whether or not to participate. a territorial war or a mating fight.
A prime example is the African female lion. They are famous for being able to recognize “signal” given through the roar from nearby female lions before making a decision whether or not to engage in combat. A typical experiment conducted to verify this was done at Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, when a female in the herd was shown a recording of a lion’s roar. other, thereby promoting the “combat” action of the lions.
However, if the female senses the roar made by 3 or more lions, she will begin to hesitate. Meanwhile, the decision to attack or not will be made based on the prediction of the number of adults who can protect the whole herd compared to the number of individuals engaged in battle by the opposing herd.
The research team said that lions do regular counting of the number of individuals in the herd every day to always be ready to deal with all possible situations, so the ability to recognize numbers This amount of individuals is definitely beneficial for survival
Karl Berg, a bird behavioral scientist at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley at Brownsville also agrees, that many animals possess a way to “measure or estimate numbers” at The degree is quite rich and complex.
Through monitoring and studying behavior of green cockatoo in Venezuela. While the female parrots will leave the nest after maturity, the male parrots decide to stay in the nest.