Elephants have always been known to be amongst the smartest of animals. They have an amazing memory, are among the few species of animals that can recognize themselves in a mirror and now it turns out, they can even do simple Math.
The findings were revealed by Dr. Naoko Irie-Sugimoto, who has been working with Ashya and three other Asian elephants in Tokyo, Japan, for the past few years, using apples and bananas.
The experiments were conducted by placing two buckets in front of the elephants, each containing a different number of apples or bananas. Then more fruit was added randomly to each bucket. She found that ninety percent of the time, the elephants picked the bucket with the most pieces of fruit.
While this was impressive on its own, it was not unusual - There are other animals such as Chimps, Salamanders and Pigeons that have shown similar math abilities.
What impressed Dr Naoko even more, was the fact that these elephants could figure out the bucket with the most pieces of fruit, even when the difference between the two was only one. For example, if they placed a bucket with five apples and another one with six apples, the elephants almost always picked the one with six. No other animal can distinguish numbers when they are this close.
This has led scientists to believe that elephants have an innate ability to compute simple numbers. They believe that this is because in the wild, Asian elephants always move in groups of six or eight, and they probably count each other all the time, to ensure that no one gets lost. Simply fascinating isn't it?
Sources: Guardian.com, Telegraph.co.uk