Can animals count?
Much debate surrounds whether any animals are able to count in the precise, symbolic way that we humans can. But many species – from parrots to monkeys and even bees – do appear to have a capacity for some sort of basic numeracy. Asian elephants seem particularly good at it. They can distinguish between pictures showing different numbers of fruit, even when the size of the fruit varies. This suggests they can think in numbers specifically, and are not just estimating overall quantity. They are good at that, too, though – they can distinguish between buckets containing different numbers of sunflower seeds just by sniffing them.
Elephants demonstrate a range of intelligent behaviours, such as tool-use, grief and self-awareness – and even numeracy.