The fourth paragraph of the first chapter of THE NUMBER CONCEPT: ITS ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT, Levi Leonard Conant wrote:
In connection with the assertion that
the idea of number seems to be
understood by the higher orders of
animals, the following brief quotation
from a paper by Sir John Lubbock may
not be out of place: "Leroy ...
mentions a case in which a man was
anxious to shoot a crow. 'To deceive
this suspicious bird, the plan was hit
upon of sending two men to the watch
house, one of whom passed on, while
the other remained; but the crow
counted and kept her distance. The
next day three went, and again she
perceived that only two retired. In
fine, it was found necessary to send
five or six men to the watch house to
put her out in her calculation. The
crow, thinking that this number of men
had passed by, lost no time in
returning.' From this he inferred that
crows could count up to four.
Update: From footnote 57 in HOW WE KNOW by Harry Binswanger he cites this source when addressing the origin of the story as:
The primary source is "On the Intelligence of the Dog," Nature, vol.33 (Nov. 12, 1885) p.45: "In fine, it was found necessary to send five or six men to the watch-house to put [the crow] out in her calculation. The crow, thinking that this number of men had passed by, lost no time in returning."
The copyright of the former article cited is July 1896.
Apr 28 '11 at 18:32