Apr 6 2008, 12:03 PM
Got this From telegraph .co.uk copied from there
Horses can count, new study says
By Nic Fleming, Science Correspondent
Horses can count, according to a new study that suggests they are more intelligent than previously thought.
Researchers found that, when offered a choice, they consistently choose buckets containing higher numbers of apples.
Horses can differentiate between small quantities
Babies aged from 10-months-old have been shown to have an innate tendency to opt for containers holding larger numbers of food items, as have many non-human primates such as rhesus macaques and lemurs.
Dr Claudia Uller, of the University of Essex, was inspired to investigate whether horses could count by the story of Clever Hans, a horse that caused a sensation 100 years ago with his apparent abilities to simple arithmetic and keep track of the calendar.
In public performances in Germany he is said to have communicated the answers to questions by tapping his foot.
However psychologist Oskar Pfungst carried out an investigation and reported in 1911 that Clever Hans was not performing arithmetic, but had learnt to obtain the required answers by interpreting the reactions of his maths teacher owner and other observers.
Dr Uller, speaking at the British Psychological Society conference in Dublin yesterday said: "Nobody has been able to show any mathematical abilities in horses since then.
advertisement"However our results suggest that horses too, and not only primates, are able to spontaneously discriminate between two small numbers.
"It shows horses are more intelligent than we thought. This may be another piece in the jig saw explaining the evolutionary origins of our ability to count."
Dr Uller and colleague Jennifer Lewis carried out a series of experiments involving riding school and privately owned horses stabled near Colchester, Essex.
In one task, 11 of 13 horses consistently selected buckets containing three plastic apples over another containing two when offered a choice. Fake fruit was used to ensure no difference in smell.
Researchers then showed 12 different horses a box holding either two identical small apples or another containing one large apple with double the surface area. Again, all but two selected the greater number of apples.
In a study published in February, Italian researchers found certain species of fish can count up to four.
What do u think ?? i think they can do much more...
Nadj al Nur
Apr 6 2008, 03:22 PM
My horses each get four chunks of carrot when they are done being groomed. I have experimented with that. If I only give them three, they will stand there and nose my pockets and wait for the fourth one, then as soon as they have it, they will walk away.
That may not be much of an example, but I personally believe that they know that four is the limit.
Apr 6 2008, 03:46 PM
mine get two carrots before l leave at night,.and even if one is a large one eaten in bits they still know if they have not got the second one and keep looking for it....
after the second one they quite happily stroll off [go eat hay what ever]...can they count? l have no idea maybe they are reading me... but there again maybe not!
Apr 7 2008, 03:36 PM
Agh, science aside, we all know they're actually plotting world domination behind those lustrous eyes, biding their time as us silly humans coo over them and fetch and carry and clean up after them.
After all, they seem to be simply horses, but put a dud rider like me on their back and they know exactly how many liberties they can take.
Think about it. What seems more intelligent - dogs, who fetch sticks, keep away intruders, run about carrying things, guarding things, digging through things and generally being at our beck and call or - horses, who have made sure their human is well trained, providing for their every need and never complaining, much.
nina c K
Apr 7 2008, 04:20 PM
I try such things from time to time and did the following:
I "taught" one mare to paw when I touch her shoulder or say a certain word. I found out that she actually did it once if touched once, if touched two times quickly, she would then start to do it twice, or even thrice if touched thrice times quickly.
The interesting thing about it was that she, in my opinion, needed to"understand" and transfer the number of signals, since she always waitet with pawing until i stopped touching her.
Four times seemed to be too much, she then did it just until she got her treat.
But from one to three times, she was quite "safe" in getting her signal x-times and then doing it, x-tims. Maybe just by accident, but I personally had the impressions that she was able to "count", at least to the number three.
Nadj al Nur
Apr 7 2008, 05:54 PM
I did another little experiment this morning. I gave them each ONE piece of carrot BEFORE they got groomed..................but they still waited for the fourth AFTER they got groomed................good thing I was prepared, LOL
Apr 7 2008, 06:38 PM
mine moan if l am late
moan if food is too long in coming
sulk when it's woming time
run in abject terror at the sight of the vet with a hypodermic
shake at the knees at the sight of shampoo, or any topologically substance
get waited on hand and hoof
and like things 'just so' and roll their eyes when things are not 'just so'
ok so l am a mug l cater to them....spoil them rotten
but l bet l am not alone!
Apr 8 2008, 10:26 AM
Nah, I meant us mugs hardly ever complain!
Unless it's raining... Then complaints are very much my thing...
Apr 8 2008, 11:20 AM
Eternal Strangers worked out if he hid behind a shed when I was coming to feed him he could jump out at me and give me a scare. For that sort of reasoning he would have had to have thought about it for a while and worked out quite a few things including my possible reaction to him doing it.
The first time he saw himself in a full length mirror he thought it was another horse and took off, but after a while he realised it was himsself and would show off while looking at himself. Apparently horses are not supposed to do that, but no one told him he wasn't.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here