Horses (Equus caballus) select the greater of two quantities in small numerical contrasts
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- Uller, C. & Lewis, J. Anim Cogn (2009) 12: 733. doi:10.1007/s10071-009-0225-0
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The ability to select the greater numerosity over another in small sets seems to stem from the calculation of which set contains more, and has been taken as evidence of a primordial representation at the roots of the primate numerical system. We tested 56 horses (Equus caballus) in a paradigm previously used with human infants and nonhuman primates. Horses saw two quantities paired in contrasts—2 versus 1, 3 versus 2, 6 versus 4 and a control for volume, 2 versus 1 big—and had to make a choice by snout touching the container holding the numerosity selected. The horses spontaneously selected the greater of the two quantities when the numerosities were small. These results add to evidence showing spontaneous quantity assessment in a variety of species.