The Kenya Forum | Giraffes Good at Maths? New Study Says They’re Not So Dumb. - The Kenya Forum

May 8, 2023

Summary

The ability to predict statistics is a highly developed reasoning skill associated with larger-brained animals

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Giraffes Good at Maths? New Study Says They’re Not So Dumb.

Giraffes Good at Maths? New Study Says They’re Not So Dumb.

Giraffes in Kenya

With their big eyes, long eye lashes, long necks and lumbering gait, giraffes are not widely viewed as the most intelligent of animals, and indeed the world’s tallest living terrestrial mammals have a relatively smaller brain size compared to other animals but new research suggest Giraffes are smarter than had been thought.

Research undertaken at Barcelona University based on a study of giraffes in the local zoo and published in Science Reports, seems to have shown that they use mathematics to get their favourite food.

Giraffes at Barcelona Zoo were tested to find out if they could make calculations to give them a better chance of getting their favourite food.

Carrots or Courgettes

Four giraffes, two male, two female, were faced with two transparent containers side by side each containing vegetable sticks with a different mix of carrots and courgettes with the carrots being the preferred choice of the giraffes and courgettes the more disliked. The ratio of carrots to courgettes was varied and researchers occasionally removed a vegetable stick and hid it from the animals. The giraffes then had to choose which hand they wanted to see opened. In 17 out of 30 experiments the giraffes selected the container that was most likely to contain their favoured carrot sticks.

Giraffes Calculating the Odds

In short, the giraffes appeared to be making predictions based on statistics and to calculate the odds on getting their favourite food.

The ability to predict statistics is a highly developed reasoning skill associated with larger-brained animals such as primates.

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