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First Posted Dec 10, 2009
Jul 25, 2010

Horses Can Count Study

Horses Can Count Like Young Children
6:18am UK, Friday April 04, 2008

Horses Can Count After All/Sky News

Horses have the same ability to count as human infants, a research has found.
Study: Horses Can Count After All

Scientists used a test in which the animals watched plastic apples being placed out of sight in buckets and then chose the one containing the most. They used fake apples to ensure the horses were not relying on their sense of smell to make the selection. The experiment showed the horses could keep a tally of how many apples were going into the containers, and hold the thought in their heads before deciding which bucket to investigate. Their behaviour mirrored that seen in similar experiments involving human babies and wild rhesus macaque monkeys. In the baby study, infants watched cookies being placed in jars and crawled to the one with the most. The monkeys, in a colony on an island off Puerto Rico, went through the same routine with apples. But horses were thought to not have the ability to count after a horse owned, by a German maths teacher, failed to pass a test set by scientists in the late 1800s. The animal, called Clever Hans, was said to be able to count the days of the week and add and subtract numbers by stamping on the ground. But when scientists carried out their own experiments with the animal they found he was responding to unconscious nods and gestures from members of his audience. Dr Claudia Uller, from the University of Essex, said: "The result absolutely proves that horses are more intelligent than people think." She said the ability to count may have an evolutionary origin much older than humans. When it came to foraging for food, "going for more" was a trait hardwired into the brains of all animals. "If you go to the supermarket you select the bigger baguette, or the shinier, redder, bigger apple," she said.

For More Information:

Horses Demonstrate Ability to Count in New Study
Horses Have the Ability to Count Study

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