Alex, the talking grey parrot, dies
Media outlets have reported the death of ‘Alex’, the famous African grey parrot used in research for over three decades. Alex’s language and recognition skills revolutionized the understanding of the avian brain. We have earlier reported how the language skills of smart ‘Alex’ parrot and other documented examples of high intelligence in birds highlight a problem for ideas about evolution. If chimpanzees are ‘our close evolutionary cousins’, then how is it that birds (which are not supposed to be evolutionary cousins, and which have much smaller brains), can surpass chimps in various measures of intelligence? See:
Brandeis University researcher Dr Irene Pepperberg recalls her last conversation with Alex—in the evening, when she told him it was time to go in the cage.1
She remembers the bird said: ‘You be good. I love you.’ Pepperberg answered, ‘I love you, too.’ Alex then said, ‘You’ll be in tomorrow,’ and she replied, ‘Yes, I’ll be in tomorrow.’
- CNN.com, Bird brain Alex the parrot dies, <http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/09/12/parrot.obit.ap/index.html>, acc. 21 September 2007.