Animals Can Count. How Far Does Their Number Sense Go?

Crows recently demonstrated an understanding of the concept of zero. It’s only the latest evidence of animals’ talents for numerical abstraction.

An understanding of numbers is often viewed as a distinctly human faculty—a hallmark of our intelligence that, along with language, sets us apart from all other animals.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Honeybees count landmarks when navigating toward sources of nectar. Lionesses tally the number of roars they hear from an intruding pride before deciding whether to attack or retreat. Some ants keep track of their steps; some spiders keep track of how many prey are caught in their web. One species of frog bases its entire

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