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4/1/09

Baby chicks do basic arithmetic

Baby birds can do arithmetic, say researchers in Italy.

Scientists from the universities of Padova and Trento demonstrated chicks' ability to add and subtract objects as they were moved behind two screens.

Lucia Regolin, an author of the study said the animals "performed basic arithmetic" to work out which screen concealed the larger group of objects.

The findings are reported in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Chicks always try to stay close to objects they are reared with - just as they stay close to and follow their mother as soon as they hatch. This instant recognition is known as "imprinting".

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