It's a Math World for Animals

Animal mathematicians are teaching scientists a thing or two about numbers.

By Emily Sohn, 00:00 AM October 7, 2003

Birds do it. Dogs do it. Even salamanders do it.

The ability to solve math problems is showing up in all sorts of unlikely creatures. From monkeys who know the difference between 2 and 3 to dogs who can calculate the fastest route, animal mathematicians are teaching scientists a few things about numbers.

A growing body of research suggests that nature probably discovered math long before people did. Studies of animal mathematicians might help explain how people learn to add, subtract, and mul...

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