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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
- About Us
ScienceShot: These Bears Count
15 June 2012 12:52 pm
If there's anything more impressive than a bear's size, it's its intelligence. Bears can learn to ride bicycles, use tools, and as new research shows, "count." Scientists trained three American black bears (Ursus Americanus) to discriminate between groups of dots on a touchscreen computer: Two bears learned to pick the group with fewer dots, while the third learned to choose the group with more dots. In some trials, the group with fewer dots took up more space; in others, the dots moved. All three bears could use the number of dots to guide their choices, but the bear trained to pick groups with more dots performed better on its tests and could also discriminate with moving dots, researchers report online this month in the journal Animal Behaviour. Overall, the bears' performance matched those of monkeys in previous studies, suggesting that animals can evolve impressive cognitive abilities without living in large social groups.
See more ScienceShots.