A recent study published in the journal eLife found that plants can perform basic math functions. Scientists discovered that plants perform basic division at the molecular level to ration their food source overnight when sunlight is not available. To read the complete article, Click here.
In addition to this new and remarkable discovery, many animal species have been observed using math in nature and have exhibited numbers sense in scientific studies.
Bees have displayed high intelligence in many scientific studies. Perhaps one of the most impressive examples is a 2010 study in which honeybees outperformed computers when determining the shortest route to fly between flowers. They were able to solve the so-called ‘Traveling Salesman‘ problem more quickly than the computers programmed to do so. That’s a lot of brain power in a small package! Read more about the study here.
Dolphins are widely regarded as one of the most intelligent animals. Next to the human brain, the dolphin brain is the most complex and powerful brain in the animal kingdom. A 2005 study conducted by the Dolphin Research Center provided conclusive evidence that dolphins can comprehend relative numerosity, or realize that numbers can be ‘more or less’ than others. The study was published in the APA’s Journal of Comparative Psychology and can be found here. A more recent study suggests that dolphins may actually be able to perform much more advanced nonlinear math.
It may not come as a complete surprise that monkeys are capable of learning math concepts given that they are humans’ closest relatives. It may come as a surprise, however, just how well they can perform. “Monkeys can perform mental addition in a manner remarkably similar to college students.” The primates that participated in a Duke University study surprised even the scientists when they quickly grasped basic addition and processed their responses similarly to the students involved.
Did you know that pigeons have the capacity to learn higher level math and abstract number rules? A 2011 study showed that pigeons can learn these concepts as well as monkeys can. It looks like Alex the Grey Parrot wasn’t such an anomaly in the winged world.
Have you heard of another surprising math genius? Share your comments with us!