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Arithmetic is available to animals: smaller brothers are smarter than they seem

Arithmetic is available to animals

The representatives of the animal world are actually much smarter than they are considered to be. Different forms of training are available to them. The scientists note that some species of animals understand not only speech, but also have the ability to arithmetic. What does make humans different from animals? These are reason and intelligence. The philosophers of the past argued that the main difference lies in linguistic abilities.

Language not only allows us to communicate with each other, but it also makes intellectual life more complex and eventful, in contrast to animal life. But at the same time, individual animals, not possessing linguistic abilities, can be rational in their behavior, draw conclusions, understand concepts, have their own beliefs.


Certain species of animals and birds are capable of speech. Among them are parrots and crows. For example, chimpanzees and gorillas understand a sign language. The scientists believe that these communications can be attributed to complex mental processes in representatives of the animal world.

Robert Brandom, who is a senior specialist at the University of Pittsburgh, claims that if a parrot says “red” when it is shown red objects, and “blue” when it is shown blue. But a bird does not demonstrate that it understands the meaning of these words.

Understanding the meaning of a word requires understanding both the meaning of many other words and the relationships that exist between these words. Therefore, the scientists intend to find out what behavior a parrot or chimpanzee will demonstrate to indicate the fact that they understand the words they use.


The first assistant in this matter was testing the arithmetic capabilities of animals. Back in the 18th century, the German philosopher Gottlob Frege tried to prove that arithmetic is an objective science, while others believed that arithmetic is the subject of human psychology.

But modern experiments that are conducted with animals show that arithmetic is also available for the minds of our smaller brothers. Some species of birds and primates are able to add and subtract, that indicates their primitive development of mental abilities.