Picture through MikeBirdy / Pexels (CC0)

It can come by surprise, but the concept of zero is really beautiful recently human mathematical invention. At least the newer numbers we know today.

This makes the findings From the University of Tübingen, Germany, even more impressive: crows can understand zero as a numerical quantity (holding it as something, nothing). In addition, they may also understand that zero indicates the smallest value in the mental number line.

In the study published Journal of Neuroscience, the research team tested the crows using displays between zero and four points. The crows were trained to show if both monitors had the same value.

When you do that, their brain activity was monitored. Crows have special nerve cells that ignite when certain amounts are shown, one for each value. So when they saw the zero-point screens, a new neuron was shot.

“These animals are not allowed need a zero concept of numeracy – as opposed to calculable numerosity – in their daily lives, ”said Andreas Nieder, the author of the study. IFLS. “But they’re smart enough to learn this abstract class.”

When the birds ran as an error, it was found that the zero points were mixed more often at one point than the other larger values. “This effect [would only be] expected if… crows understand the empty set as the smallest numerical value in the number line, ”Nieder explained.

After all, crows do not has a reputation the smartest birds in vain. They have definitely earned that value.

[via My Modern Met, cover image via MikeBirdy / Pexels (CC0)]

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