Can you figure it out?

A deceivingly complicated children’s math puzzle is perplexing adults and provoking the age old question, “Just what does a coconut mean?”

According to The Daily Mail, the puzzle in question has been circulating on Facebook since at least December, without a definitive solution in sight.

It’s a classic math problem that requires the solver to figure out a numeric value for each fruit.

The first line of the image reveals that 3 apples equal 30, therefore each apple equals 10. Knowing this, we can deduce from the second line that each bundle of 4 bananas equals 4, because an apple (10) and 2 banana bunches (4+4) equals 18.

Knowing that a banana bunch is worth 4, we can deduce from the third line that 2 coconut halves equals 2, because a bunch of bananas (4) minus 2 coconut halves (2) equals 2.

So knowing all this, what does a coconut plus an apple plus a bunch of 3 bananas equal?

Here’s where the internet gets predictably disagreeable.

Some solvers assign a fixed value to any image that contains a coconut or banana. This means that no matter the number of bananas in the bundle or coconut halves in the pile, an image of a banana always equals 4 and an image of coconut always equals 2. By this logic, coconut (2) plus banana (4) plus apple (10) equals 16.

Others say that the number of bananas or coconut halves in the image matters. So, if 4 bananas equals 4, then 3 bananas must equal 3. Similarly, if 2 coconut halves equals 2, then 1 coconut half equals 1. By this logic, 1 coconut half (1) plus 1 apple (10) plus a 3-banana bunch (3) equals 14.

The Daily Mail actually spoke to an expert, mathematics professor Dr Kevin Bowman of the University of Central Lancashire, who quickly confirmed that everyone and no one is right.

“You can interpret it in many ways; one way is no more correct than another,” Bowman told told The Daily Mail.

Thanks, Kevin. So while the internet remains divided, at least one commenter managed to cover all her bases and get it right. Dara Mac of London, UK, wrote:

“The answer is … More than zero.”

1 Comment

1. This must be 14? Right? 🙂

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