Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Alex the parrot

I saved this link to an obit for Alex the parrot because I was charmed by earlier stories about him and because research into animal intelligence fascinates me. It’s not the freshest news, but if you’ve never heard of Alex and Irene Pepperberg, here’s an excerpt:

According to Pepperberg who is a faculty member at Brandeis University, Alex was able to identify 50 different objects, seven colors and shapes, and quantities of up to six. Alex also understood the concept of bigger and smaller and same and different. Pepperberg says they were in the midst of learning basic mathematics skills. … After repeating some learning trials dozens of times, Alex would become tired and throw objects off the trays with his beak. When visiting the veterinarian, Alex would go back in his cage and slam the door.

… Alex would say to her every night before going to bed: "You be good. I love you. See you tomorrow."

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