The fruit puzzle: what’s going on and why can’t we agree on a solution?

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Another seemingly straight-forward (children’s) math problem is making the rounds on the Internet.  This time, it features fruit:  apples, bananas, and coconuts.  Now, the answer seems obvious at first glance, but due to a little (intentional?) visual trickery, the answer isn’t clear cut.

Here’s the puzzle:

What's the answer to the fruit puzzle?


Figure it out?  Here’s the solution (s)…

The top equation shows 3 apples summing to 30, therefore we can conclude that each apple is worth 10.

The second equation shows 1 apples plus two equal bunches of bananas summing to 18.  So now we can conclude that the bunches of bananas are worth 4 each.  10 + 4 + 4 = 18.  Easy.

The third equation shows a bunch of bananas minus two coconut halves with equaling 2.  We know the bunch of bananas is worth 4, so the 2 coconut halves must be worth 2, since 4 – 2 = 2.

In the final equation, we have one coconut half plus one apple plus one bunch of bananas.  So, what’s the answer?

Here’s where the debate begins…

Some believe that if a pair of coconut halves equals two, then a single coconut half must equal one. Likewise, they believe that if a bundle of four bananas equals four, then a bundle of three must equal three, leaving a final answer of 14.  As a side note, on first glance, I didn’t even notice that the bunch of bananas had 3 instead of 4 bananas…

Others believe that the coconut image always equals two, while the bundle of bananas image always equals four, regardless of changes in the images. By this logic, the answer is 16.

So which is it?