Can Dolphins Do Math? [The Marine Mathematician]

In short, yes, dolphins can do basic if adequately trained. Even the study shows they use complex-valued nonlinear math while they are hunting. In this case, addition, subtraction, and even simple algebra can be applied.

Being curious? This article will help you to better understand the complexity of dolphins’ mathematical capacities.

Can Dolphins Do Math?

Dolphins can do the math. A new study suggests that dolphins may use nonlinear equations when searching for food. The results of this study show that these smart marine mammals are much better at math than people thought before.


The research team studied the foraging behavior of bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia, by looking at their response times to various prey species. The study aimed to assess the cognitive ability of dolphins and if they had developed any kind of mathematical skills through their own experience or evolution.

The results were remarkable and suggested that dolphins used some form of advanced mathematics when pursuing prey, including linear equations and nonlinear equations such as trigonometric functions.

It’s believed that the mathematical abilities of dolphins evolved naturally as they adapted over time to hunt more efficiently in complicated ocean environments where multiple prey species could be present at any given time and under different levels of water turbulence.

Such mathematical skills would allow them to make quick decisions to capture their prey before it escaped. This means that dolphin mathematics is more than just a simple addition or subtraction but instead involves complex calculations far beyond what humans are capable of doing unaided by technology like calculators or computers.

How Do Dolphins Do Math?

Dolphins are capable of doing math due to their natural ability for complex cognitive processes. This cognitive capacity has allowed them to develop a sophisticated sonar system that helps them find food in dark or murky waters. Dolphins use echolocation, which is a type of biological sonar, to navigate and hunt for food.

By emitting high-pitched clicks and analyzing the returning echoes, dolphins can determine the size, shape, location, and movement of objects in their environment.

To make sense of the returning echoes they receive, dolphins have to apply mathematical principles such as nonlinear mathematics, which involves distinguishing between different frequencies to understand what they are looking at. This helps them identify their prey quickly and efficiently by extracting important information from the echo to accurately identify an object’s size, shape, and location.


They also use trigonometry for range-finding so that they can measure distances accurately and hunt more effectively by calculating angles of arrival for sound waves emitted from various objects.

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The research published in the Royal Society Journal concluded that dolphins might benefit from being able to solve nonlinear equations associated with echolocation at high speeds and with great accuracy. This suggests that dolphins have a natural ability to do math that helps them adapt to their aquatic environment by helping them find better ways to hunt.

Can Dolphins Understand Math?

Yes, dolphins can understand math. Dolphins have demonstrated an impressive ability to comprehend numerical concepts and represent them in an ordered sequence.

For example, studies conducted at the Dolphin Research Center in Florida showed that dolphins were able to match items accurately according to quantity and numerosity. This suggests that they can recognize and differentiate between different amounts of objects or symbols that represent particular numerical values.

Furthermore, dolphins exhibit a remarkable aptitude for recognizing patterns and solving complex mathematical problems.

Experiments conducted with dolphins suggest they can perform simple math operations correctly, as well as solve more complex equations such as those involving fractions and decimals.

This indicates a level of mathematical comprehension far beyond what was previously believed possible for dolphins, suggesting that their cognitive abilities may exceed our own in certain areas related to mathematics.

Can Dolphins Count Numbers?

There is no definite answer to whether dolphins can count numbers. However, they can identify the larger portion. While some research has demonstrated that dolphins may be able to distinguish between different numerical amounts and even comprehend the concept of numerical continuity, it is not clear if they are capable of counting.

Studies have shown that dolphins can remember specific numbers of objects for up to a minute by associating them with images or sounds. However, this does not necessarily mean that they can perform the cognitive task of counting.


Additionally, research suggests that dolphins are adept at measuring distances and times, which could indicate an ability to apply numerical principles.

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However, much more testing and research needs to be done to determine whether dolphins possess the complex cognitive capability necessary for understanding and utilizing numerical values in a meaningful way.

Can You Teach Dolphins Math?

Dolphins can be taught basic math and the idea of numbers.

But it’s hard to keep their attention and interest over a long period of time. This is because dolphins are mostly visual learners. They don’t learn by doing things over and over or by memorizing things.

For example, in Dr. Kelly Jaakkola’s study, blackboards with different numbers of white dots were shown to two male dolphins. The mammals were asked to pick the board with the fewest dots, which showed that they could do simple math.

Dolphins have also been taught sign language, and during training sessions, they have shown that they can remember words and instructions very well.

What Is the IQ Of A Dolphin?

There is no exact number for a dolphin’s IQ because each dolphin is unique and very smart. Studies have found that their IQs are somewhere between 80 and 90.

But some sources say that a dolphin’s average IQ could be as high as 126. This is based on a number of tests, such as the ability to solve problems, imitate, communicate, and get along with others.


But because dolphins are so different in how they act and how smart they are, there is no single answer to the question of how smart they are. Dolphins are known for how well they can solve problems and how well they can talk to each other through whistles and clicks.

The fact that they can work together to reach their goals also shows how smart and complex their minds are.

What Tricks Can You Teach a Dolphin?

Depending on how good your training is, you can teach a dolphin many different tricks. Basic tricks include swimming through hoops, pushing or pulling an object, bringing things back, and jumping over hurdles.

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Some of the more advanced tricks, like races, tail-walking, breaching, spinning in place, and playing catch with a hand-held ball, are done in sync with other dolphins or people.

Dolphins can also do more complicated things, like recognize different objects that their trainers show them and act accordingly.

They can also be taught to act and make faces like people. Dolphins can be taught to paint abstract art by holding a brush in their mouths. This takes a lot of training and time, but it is possible.

How Intelligent Are Dolphins?

Dolphins are highly intelligent creatures that display a wide range of complex behaviors. These include the ability to recognize themselves in mirrors, suggesting a capacity for self-awareness.


They engage in cultural learning and can be seen passing on traditions and knowledge among their pods, demonstrating an understanding of abstract concepts similar to that found in chimpanzees and other apes.

Dolphins have also been observed using unique forms of communication with each other, such as whistles and clicks, and even recognizing symbols used to represent objects or commands.

All these examples indicate an advanced level of intelligence on the part of dolphins, one that rivals some primates when it comes to problem-solving skills, social awareness, and more.

Furthermore, recent studies have suggested dolphins may even possess a rudimentary form of language that allows them to communicate with each other in ways humans cannot yet comprehend.


So, you now know that dolphins are one of the smartest mathematicians in the sea. They have the mental skills to understand numbers and use them in a meaningful way. They have even been taught to use sign language and visual clues to understand simple math ideas like plus and minus.

Dolphins also have an amazing ability to spot patterns and figure out how to solve hard math problems. This high level of intelligence helps them solve problems more effectively in the water where they live.

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