# If maths is about finding patterns

1. Apr 13, 2012

### kaleidoscope

If maths is about finding patterns... then. if my parrot learns by itself that everytime I grab the food bag is time to eat and gets excited, can we say it has a very rudimentary/vestigial sense of math?

2. Apr 13, 2012

### lisab

Staff Emeritus
Well....I think he looks pretty dang smart.

3. Apr 13, 2012

### Jimmy Snyder

Plus a constant. Aaaawwk.

4. Apr 13, 2012

### Office_Shredder

Staff Emeritus
Math requires deductive logic. Your bird is doing science

5. Apr 13, 2012

### BobG

No. Pattern recognition is one of the skills used in math; not math itself.

For example, pattern recognition is also one of the skills used in reading. Baboons can learn to recognize words as words even when they have no concept what they mean and even when they've never been exposed to that particular word before.

While pattern recognition itself doesn't mean your parrot knows math, your parrot could have a better grasp of math than you might think. This parrot figured out the concept of zero on his own.

6. Apr 13, 2012

### dkotschessaa

Are you familiar with this anecdote? No way of knowing if it's true or not:

A nobleman wanted to shoot down a crow that had built its nest atop a tower on his domain. However, whenever he approached the tower, the bird flew out of gun range, and waited until the man departed. As soon as he left, it returned to its nest. The man decided to ask a neighbor for help. The two hunters entered the tower together, and later only one of them came out. But the crow did not fall into this trap and carefully waited for the second man to come out before returning. Neither did three, then four, then five men fool the clever bird. Each time, the crow would wait until all the hunters had departed. Eventually, the hunters came as a party of six. When five of them had left the tower, the bird, not so numerate after all, confidently came back, and was shot down by the sixth hunter.

7. Apr 13, 2012

### dkotschessaa

My cat does some really abstract math, btw. She sometimes types stuff on the keyboard. I have no idea what it means. Way over my head.

8. Apr 13, 2012

### jobyts

Mathematics is the language of logic. Your parrot has logic, but it does not use any of the human invented language to express it.

Most animals can do >, < logic comparisons. An animal's defense mechanism is different if it is attacked by one opponent or more opponents.

9. Apr 13, 2012

### BobG

I've heard this story, but I don't know if it's true or not - or at least the original story. Your version seemingly can't be true, because crows can only numerate up to four objects. Which is very high! Human toddlers can only numerate up to 4 or 5 objects until they learn to count. (Or, in other words, maybe your version could be true - if a crow or a human toddler can perceive up to 4 objects, then the next category is "a bunch" with 5 being indistinguishable from 6 or 7).

This is also probably the reason for earliest counting systems being base 5. In other words, you can tally up to 4 marks and immediately perceive what number they represent, but when you get to 5, you make a slash through the four marks and start over with another group of 5 marks.

10. Apr 15, 2012