Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Alex the Parrot

I'm a bit late to this story, but I was listening to the NPR Fresh podcast, and they told the wonderful story of Alex the Parrot. It wasn't his talking that made him special, but more the fact that his trainer could communicate with him, and that he could actually process information and think. He was able to demonstrate behaviour that was more complex than simply repeating words. His trainer (Dr. Irene Pepperberg) talked about how Alex helped to debunk the "birdbrain" theory. Personally I think it's another example of how animals are far smarter than we give them credit.

Sadly, Alex the Parrot died last year aged 31 (which apparently is not that old for a parrot). One of the more emotional anecdotes as told by Dr Pepperberg was the time she had to take him to an animal hospital when he was sick. As she was leaving him, he kept saying "I wanna go back". In this short video demonstrating his talents, you can hear Alex using that line.

No comments: