complexitystudies wrote:
> Not exactly. Animals and babies can distinguish up to 2-3 objects
> (innate arithmetic, subitizing). The experiments with which this has
> been ascertained are both fascinating and entertaining (google is your
> friend ;-)
> This ability has an evolutionary advantage: it is necessary for higher
> organisms to distinguish more or less abundant food sources or numbers
> of predators. But this meaning this "countability", arises out of the
> physical world, and is not independent of it.

The experiment I recall from the '50s was with crows.  If men went into a blind 
in the middle of a corn field where crows were feeding the crows would fly up 
into the surrounding trees.  Then the men would leave one or two at a time.  If 
the number were five or fewer the crows would know when the last one had left 
and immediately come back to feed.  With six they were sometimes wrong.  With 
seven or more they would wait and then return cautiously a few at a time.

Of course they probably weren't counting, mapping cardinality to sequence, but 
they had the concept of number.

Brent Meeker

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