Baby chickens aren't just cute -- they are also whizzes at math, according to a new study.
The study, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B, presents the first known evidence that any non-human animal can perform consecutive addition and subtraction calculations on the same set.
It is also "the very first demonstration of some arithmetic ability in young animals," lead author Rosa Rugani told Discovery News.
Since the chicks could work with numbers up to five, and prior research suggests the limit for human newborns is three, it's possible that chicks could beat babies if the two groups were pitted against each other in a math contest.
Taken as a whole, however, the study supports the theory "that animals and humans share a non-verbal, and even pre-verbal in the case of humans, numerical system" that can perform precise arithmetic on small number sets -- "with a limit of three or four" -- and make estimates about larger sets, said Rugani, a researcher in the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences at the University of Trento in Italy. To read the rest of the article, click here.