For most of history, humans have thought that they had the whole math market cornered. A new study shows that our favorite four-legged friends might give us a run for our money.
Published on Monday in the Journal of Ethology, the study focuses on the cognitive abilities of one particular elephant: a 14-year-old female named Authai. (Who says girls aren’t good at math?!)
According to the authors of the study, this is the “first experimental evidence that nonhuman animals have cognitive characteristics partially identical to human counting.”
“I wonder if these skills are related to their advanced social networks, where they recognize individual relationships among numerous individuals with their spatial cognitive abilities,” Dr. George Wittemeyer, scientific director of Save The Elephants postulated to Inverse Magazine.
Whether African elephants have the same skills remains to be seen as Asian and African elephants diverged on the evolutionary track about 7.6 million years ago. Suffice it to say, another study focusing on African elephants would make for fascinating reading.
But before you hand over your math homework to an elephant, you should know that its success rate leaves something to be desired: 66.8 percent.
That said, the study's authors stress that 66.8 percent shows that this is much more than lucky guesses and demonstrates genuine talent... Here's wishing your calculus teacher extends you the same assurances.