When animals count

Let’s imagine walking in Florence and looking for a specific restaurant. Your smartphone, surprisingly, is not helping you out, but fortunately a local is giving you directions, “Go straight and turn left on the third street.” To find your destination, you need to use a specific kind of numerical information, which allows you to identify a street, between others, on the basis of its ordinal position.

Various species master this kind of ability; such as rhesus monkeys, rats, Clark’s nutcrackers, domestic chicks and honeybees.

Related scientific publications

Rugani R. (2017). Towards numerical cognition’s origin: insights from dayold domestic chicks. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 373: 20160509.http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2016.0509

Vallortigara, G., Chiandetti, C., Sovrano, V. A., Rugani, R., and Regolin, L. (2010a). Animal cognition. wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Cogn. Sci. 1, 882–893. doi: 10.1002/wcs.75

Vallortigara, G., Regolin, L., Chiandetti, C., and Rugani, R. (2010b). Rudiments of mind: number and space cognition in animals. Comp. Cogn. Behav. Rev. 5, 78–99. doi: 10.3819/ccbr.2010.50004