Could Your Dog Be a Mathematician?

WINONA, Minn. — A math professor in Minnesota presented an argument Monday at Winona State University, claiming his dog knows calculus.

Dr. Timothy Pennings said he discovered his dog Elvis’ calculus skills when he was playing catch at a lake.

For those of you not familiar with calculus or who haven’t done a problem in a while, a standard calculus problem is to find the quickest path from one point to another.

Dr. Pennings says when he throws a ball into the lake, Elvis finds the quickest path, always entering the water at the optimal point.

“The shortest distance would be for him to just swim straight there, does it make sense? But since he runs faster than he swims, he knows he’ll get there faster if he runs along the beach and then goes in at  an angle a little bit later on, and that’s what he does,” said Dr. Pennings. “And when I did all the math calculations to figure out exactly where he should jump into the water in order to get there in the shortest time,  it turns out he jumps into the water within about a foot of the optimal point each time.”

Dr. Pennings isn’t the only one who believes his dog is a mathematician, as several other scientists have written about this phenomenon in dogs.

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