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Pigeons can do the Maths

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It is a recent finding that pigeons can handle maths.  Until now, it was believed that only primates will be able to count but this finding has made scientists to ponder over the evolution of mathematical skills.  A pigeon is considered to be a pedestrian creature that you can find on the sidewalks. But the reputation of a pigeon took a boost when psychologists at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand informed that pigeons can count. This was published in the journal, `Science’,

Pigeons are easy to train and they are diligent workers. Their brains are different from those of mammals. Primates have a layered cortex but pigeons don’t. The pigeons respond on touch screens. They peck at them and the touch screens register their response. The experiment was done with three images. One image had one object in it. The second had two objects and the third had three objects. The pigeons were trained to peck the pictures in ascending order. The sets were given with different shapes and sizes of objects. They got a reward every time they got a correct response.

They were tested with tiers of images with numbers that were outside of  that range to see if they could transfer that ascending rule to numbers greater than three and they were able to do that as well as the monkeys. The pigeons are reported to have performed better than the lemurs.

The psychologists are trying to test more bird species like African grey parrots and cockatoos.