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Chicken are Better than Toddlers at Math, Self-Control

Jun 19, 2013 10:17 AM EDT
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A chicken is seen at a yard in central Beijing, April 5, 2013

(Photo : REUTERS/Jason Lee )

Chicken are better than toddlers at math and logical reasoning, according to a new study. Researchers add that hens have better self-control and understand basic concepts of structural engineering.

"The domesticated chicken is something of a phenomenon. Studies over the past 20 years have revealed their finely honed sensory capacities, their ability to think, draw inferences, apply logic and plan ahead," said Christine Nicol, professor of animal welfare at Bristol University, and the head of a study sponsored by the Happy Egg Company, reports The Times.

The study review called 'The Intelligent Hen' shows that chicken can count numbers up to five and have the ability to understand transitive inference- the idea that if A is greater than B and B is greater C then A would be greater than C. Ability to understand transitive inference has been documented in other animals such as birds, rats and monkeys.

Other studies have also shown that young chicken have better numerical abilities than a human baby.

Research shows that chicken have the ability to understand that objects removed out of sight still exist, a concept that human babies learn by one year of age, the Telegraph reported.  Chicken are also more likely to take interest in seeing diagrams that follow basic rules of physics than diagrams that defy it.

In an experiment, newly hatched chicken were shown two diagrams of cube, with one of it being accurate. A majority of chicken displayed more interest in the accurate diagram of the cube.

Chicken also have the ability to control themselves. In an experiment which was designed to test chicken's self -control, the chicken quickly grasped the idea that they could get more food if they waited longer, reported The Heard Sun.  Interestingly, about 93 percent of the chicken in this experiment displayed self-control. Human toddlers require about four years or more to understand this idea.

Previous research has shown that chicken can use sounds and gestures to convey information to other chicken. 

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