02 April 2009

Chick may not be bird brains after all

Again this looked like an April Fool joke when I saw it but it is too widespread t be a prank. According to yesterday’s Guardian (and many other sources), scientists have discovered that chicks can do simple sums soon after they hatch.

Researchers observed "impressive arithmetic" in newly hatched chicks. Rosa Rugani at the University of Trento stated that the chicks had to perform simple arithmetic to work out which screen obscured the larger number of objects.

The chicks were reared 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 a series of simple maths tests, Rugani's team attached a fishing line to each of the plastic capsules and used it to move them behind two screens that the chick could see from behind a clear plastic door. When all of the containers had been hidden, the chick was set free to investigate.

Rugani's team found that when the chicks went in search of the capsules, they peered first behind the screen that concealed the larger number of containers.In a more difficult test, the researchers moved the containers back and forth behind the two screens while the chicks watched. When they were released into the enclosure, the chicks still made 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.

Well there you go - proof positive that chicks are smarter that many Nuts and Okay readers and every single member of the BNP


James Higham said...

Why would you want to know if chicks can count? The unfeathered variety certainly can anyway.

jams o donnell said...

Ah because it's there James!

Glad you find it interesting too Kay

sheila said...

Now that is interesting. I had to scroll up twice to make sure it wasn't posted on April Fools day, lol. But that is so interesting.

jams o donnell said...

I thouhgt it had to be an April Fools when I first saw it Sheila