from the not-that-kind-of-chicks dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Chicks can add and subtract small numbers shortly after hatching, says Rosa Rugani at the University of Trento. Rugani reared chicks with five plastic containers of the kind found inside Kinder chocolate eggs. This meant the chicks bonded with the capsules, much as they do with their mother, making them want to be near the containers as they grew up. In one test, the researchers moved the containers back and forth behind two screens while the chicks watched. When the chicks were released into the enclosure, they headed for the screen obscuring the most containers, suggesting they had been able to keep track of the number of capsules behind each by adding and subtracting them as they moved. It is already known that many non-human primates and monkeys can count, and even domestic dogs have been found to be capable of simple additions but this is the first time the ability has been seen in such young animals, and with no prior training in problem solving of any kind."