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April 21, 2014 AT 12:22 PM
Researchers say monkeys can use symbols to add — a finding that sheds light on the evolutionary origins of math. Humans possess a sophisticated combination of mathematical capabilities unmatched in the animal kingdom. Still, there is increasing evidence that at least some of these abilities are shared with other species. For instance, many animals can figure out which of two clusters of dots is larger or smaller. In future studies, scientists will try to find out whether or not primates can learn to multiply. Such research could shed more light on how the monkeys think about numbers.