Study: Crows can count “out loud” just like humans Study: Crows can count “out loud” just like humans

Study: Crows can count “out loud” just like humans

Study: Crows can count “out loud” just like humans
A team of researchers has discovered that crows can count out loud, in a similar way to young human children.

The ability to count out loud “one, two, three...” requires an understanding of numerical quantities (in logical sequence) and purposeful vocal control. Humans use speech for symbolic (sequential) counting and correct quantitative communication, a complex skill developed in childhood.

Before mastering symbolic counting, where specific words are associated with specific quantities (or numbers), young children often make a number of sounds that correspond to the amount of objects they see.

In the study, researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany trained 3 crows to produce between 1 and 4 sounds in response to both visual and auditory signals.

In each trial, the crows had to make a certain number of sounds and indicate the end of the sound sequence by clicking on the target.

The researchers found that crows can successfully and deliberately produce specific numbers of vocalizations in response to specific signals, a degree of control that has not yet been observed in other animals.

The analysis also showed that the timing and features of the first vocalization predicted the overall 'number' the crows were about to count, while each 'number' had different acoustic features compared to the other numbers. This is similar to the differences in the sounds of "one", "two", "three" and "four" in human speech.

It is worth noting that previous studies found that crows are “just as smart as monkeys” when it comes to logistical thinking and tool use. This includes abilities, such as delaying gratification and reflection, as well as the ability to recognize themselves in the mirror and feel empathy.

The study was published in the journal Science.


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