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Grey parrot called Griffin humiliates Harvard students by beating them in a memory test
Daily Mail ^ | 8 July 2020 | Jonathan Chadwick

Posted on 07/08/2020 3:55:05 PM PDT by Trillian

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To: Vendome; Trillian
I read a book some time ago "The Genius of Birds" and it was fascinating. The author came across as a bit of a Lib, but the subject matter was really interesting.

Birds apparently have an inordinate amount of neurons in their brains, even proportionally more than primates. Here is an excerpt from an article published at Science News: Bird brain? Ounce for ounce birds have significantly more neurons in their brains than mammals or primates

"...The macaw has a brain the size of an unshelled walnut, while the macaque monkey has a brain about the size of a lemon. Nevertheless, the macaw has more neurons in its forebrain -- the portion of the brain associated with intelligent behavior -- than the macaque.

That is one of the surprising results of the first study to systematically measure the number of neurons in the brains of more than two dozen species of birds ranging in size from the tiny zebra finch to the six-foot-tall emu, which found that they consistently have more neurons packed into their small brains than are stuffed into mammalian or even primate brains of the same mass.

The study results were published online in a paper titled "Birds have primate-like numbers of neurons in the forebrain" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences early edition on the week of June 13.

"For a long time having a 'bird brain' was considered to be a bad thing: Now it turns out that it should be a compliment," said Vanderbilt University neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel, senior author of the paper with Pavel N?mec at the Charles University in Prague.

The study provides a straightforward answer to a puzzle that comparative neuroanatomists have been wrestling with for more than a decade: how can birds with their small brains perform complicated cognitive behaviors?

The conundrum was created by a series of studies beginning in the previous decade that directly compared the cognitive abilities of parrots and crows with those of primates. The studies found that the birds could manufacture and use tools, use insight to solve problems, make inferences about cause-effect relationships, recognize themselves in a mirror and plan for future needs, among other cognitive skills previously considered the exclusive domain of primates.

Scientists were left with a generally unsatisfactory fallback position: Avian brains must simply be wired in a completely different fashion from primate brains. Two years ago, even this hypothesis was knocked down by a detailed study of pigeon brains, which concluded that they are, in fact, organized along quite similar lines to those of primates.

The new study provides a more plausible explanation: Birds can perform these complex behaviors because birds' forebrains contain a lot more neurons than any one had previously thought -- as many as in mid-sized primates.

"We found that birds, especially songbirds and parrots, have surprisingly large numbers of neurons in their pallium: the part of the brain that corresponds to the cerebral cortex, which supports higher cognition functions such as planning for the future or finding patterns. That explains why they exhibit levels of cognition at least as complex as primates," said Herculano-Houzel, who recently joined the Vanderbilt psychology department.

That is possible because the neurons in avian brains are much smaller and more densely packed than those in mammalian brains, the study found. Parrot and songbird brains, for example, contain about twice as many neurons as primate brains of the same mass and two to four times as many neurons as equivalent rodent brains.

Not only are neurons packed into the brains of parrots and crows at a much higher density than in primate brains, but the proportion of neurons in the forebrain is also significantly higher, the study found..."

As I have gotten older and less active, I have become more and more interested in birds...fascinating creatures. They are one of the few wild animals you can observe both up close and for long periods of time. Most other animals scoot fairly quickly when they see you, but not birds. And they appear to be very interested in humans.

They are curious, especially the corvids like Crows and Blue Jays. Blue Jays are my favorites...they are beautiful, sure, but...they are interesting and fun to observe, they can appear almost clownishly silly in their behavior, and appear to exhibit human emotions (in addition to inordinate curiosity) like greed and vindictiveness.

I can't get them to eat out of my hand yet, but they sure know who the bald guy wearing the lab coat is...he's the guy with the peanuts! And when I lay in my hammock and smoke my pipe, the sparrows do low altitude flyovers in groups over me...flying in groups of three or four between my reclining form and the top of the pergola that holds up my hammock. They don't do it until I start smoking my pipe, and I swear...they seem to be completely overcome with curiosity about it. They land up in the grape vines covering the pergola and hop to and fro, peering at me between the leaves...:)

21 posted on 07/08/2020 4:37:12 PM PDT by rlmorel ("Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies"- George Orwell)
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To: AnotherUnixGeek

I admit, the more I learn about birds, the more I would love to have one as a pet. It would be fun to have a Blue Jay or a Crow, you said, that would be a commitment. (They say the oldest Blue Jay lived 25 years)

That, and probably too much personality...:)

Hahaha...on the base which was my dad’s last duty station before he retired, there was a Navy Chief (Chief Silva) who had a Myna Bird, and in those military houses with no air conditioning where the windows were open any time weather permitted, you could hear the bird from far off.

It only said two things:

“Son of a bitchin dog!”



Hahaha, his daughter told me they had tried repeatedly to teach it to say “Merry Christmas”, but that was as far as it ever got! It had that drawn out, truncated word where the drawn out “y” at the end rose in pitch until it petered out! “Merrrrrrrryyyyyy....”

22 posted on 07/08/2020 4:44:00 PM PDT by rlmorel ("Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies"- George Orwell)
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To: rlmorel

What I meant to say was, I would love to own one, but I never will. (and I understand it is also illegal)

23 posted on 07/08/2020 4:44:51 PM PDT by rlmorel ("Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies"- George Orwell)
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To: Pontiac

Biden went to SU and those who are still there who knew him wonder how he got in, how he got out, and who wrote his papers and took his tests for him.

24 posted on 07/08/2020 4:46:39 PM PDT by metmom ( ...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: rlmorel

So interesting about your birds. Since I no longer have a dog, I’ve gotten more attuned to watching the birds. I’ve been putting birdseed on the deck railing and get a variety of birds showing up. Also the squirrels, of course.

It’s gotten where I really can’t sit on my deck for long. They see me out there and come flying nearby, waiting for me to put out seed. They won’t eat it if I’m still sitting on the deck, so I just go back indoors. They enjoy my deck more often than I do now...ha.

25 posted on 07/08/2020 4:49:16 PM PDT by Cedar
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To: Crucial
They also said that birds that cache their food (like Chickadees and Blue Jays) have an unbelievable mental map of where they stashed it away. From one article I read:

"...Black-capped chickadees forage for food and instead of eating it all, they store, or cache some of it for later consumption. Food caching occurs mostly during the fall and winter when food supplies are likely to become scarce. It is estimated that chickadees cache as many as one hundred thousand food items per year, usually individually, across a widespread territory and they do not reuse cache sites. They demonstrate a remarkable memory for the location of cached food items for periods ranging from hours to weeks..."

That is humbling. Sometimes, I can't remember where I put something down, or what I had for lunch...:)

26 posted on 07/08/2020 4:50:16 PM PDT by rlmorel ("Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies"- George Orwell)
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To: metmom

Biden wishes he has a bird brain.

27 posted on 07/08/2020 4:50:55 PM PDT by Leep (We can go to the grocery store but we can't go to work?)
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To: Leep

It would be an improvement.

At least he’d be able to remember things.

28 posted on 07/08/2020 4:54:33 PM PDT by metmom ( ...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: Cedar
They just have to get used to you...really. And they do.

I have got Chickadees and Titmouses to eat from my hand, but...the Blue Jays like to keep their distance. They perch outside my office window and squawk at me, peering in through the window...wanting their peanuts.

They sure do love their peanuts.

Heh, I work in a trailer at a large hospital, and I love it. After so many years of working in places with cinderblock walls and no windows, I have an office in a trailer...a window I can open...and a screen I have removed. I am close to retirement, and after working nearly forty years with sixty hour weeks, this is a nice ending for me...:)

Anyway, due the virus crap, they told me not to come in because I have a bunch of co-morbidities, and I think they didn't want me to die before they could retire me, so they made me stay at home for a few months and work from there (which was a blessing for me)

But...I wondered what became of my bird friends. Did they miss me? Did they even know I was gone?

After it became clear to me that the virus thing was overblown, and that some precautions are pretty effective, I asked to be able to go back to work, and they let me come in for a couple of days a week.

First day back, I went into my office and opened the window. No bird feed in my feeder, no birds, squirrels, or anything. Deserted.

I went to take care of something, and when I went back to my office, there were about a dozen Blue Jays all sitting in the vegetation, motionless, all looking at me and my open window!

Waiting for their peanuts...

They remembered me...:)

29 posted on 07/08/2020 5:02:36 PM PDT by rlmorel ("Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies"- George Orwell)
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To: Trillian

NO FAIR! Parrots don’t smoke weed....which makes sociey so much smarter!

30 posted on 07/08/2020 5:05:51 PM PDT by Bommer (I'm a MAGA-Deplorian! It is the way! It is the only way!)
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To: OrangeHoof

There’s a YouTube video where an African Gray is, among other things, ordering Alexa, “Alexa, all lights on” and “Alexa, all lights off”. It’s kind of freaky.

31 posted on 07/08/2020 5:11:27 PM PDT by Flick Lives (My work's illegal, but at least it's honest. - Capt. Malcolm Reynolds)
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To: Trillian

My ex had an African Grey parrot. Amazing bird!

32 posted on 07/08/2020 5:12:32 PM PDT by MayflowerMadam
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To: rlmorel

“Waiting for their peanuts...

They remembered me...:)”

Great story. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend the last little bit before retiring. I can tell some of the birds are getting more used to me. When I was putting out peanut butter in the winter, the mocking bird would come so close to me, just a few feet away. He loved the peanut butter but doesn’t come for the birdseed I put out.

Glad you have that great work spot to enjoy your birds. I’m sure they keep you entertained.

33 posted on 07/08/2020 5:13:37 PM PDT by Cedar
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To: Lurkina.n.Learnin

My neighbor had a bird that would fly out of the window to sit on the wires. I am not sure what kind it was, but until I helped the neighbor jump his car one morning did I understand how smart the bird was. It was the Rurururururu of a starter motor, slowing down as the battery drained, then click click click click click when it was dead.

Whenever it saw me after this help, whenever I walked by it or went to the neighbors house, it would repeat the sound of the battery being drained.

34 posted on 07/08/2020 5:24:23 PM PDT by Glad2bnuts (“If there are no absolutes by which to judge society, then society is absolute.” Francis Schaeffer)
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To: ifinnegan

“Not a memory test.”

Exactly, it is a keep track of fast moving objects test.

35 posted on 07/08/2020 5:28:27 PM PDT by FewsOrange
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To: rlmorel

Blue Jays are my favorites...they are beautiful, sure, but...they are interesting and fun to observe

You might like -

36 posted on 07/08/2020 5:31:16 PM PDT by pa_dweller (THIS SPACE LEFT INTENTIONALLY BLANK)
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To: Trillian

Are the students so stoned a bird beats them?

37 posted on 07/08/2020 5:32:24 PM PDT by Chgogal (ALL lives matter. If you disagree with me, YOU are the racist.)
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To: Trillian

You know why a bird is smarter than a student at Harvard? The bird knows the difference between a male and a female.

38 posted on 07/08/2020 5:35:15 PM PDT by Brooklyn Attitude (In America 2.0, blacks are sacred and can do no wrong.)
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To: SmokingJoe, which one of them is dead last?

39 posted on 07/08/2020 5:35:40 PM PDT by motherdearth ("Mercy Without Justice Is the Mother of Dissolution; Justice Without Mercy Is Cruelty")
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To: ifinnegan

“What a stupid article.

Not a memory test.”
No, but it is a test of the perception of reality and the ability to focus.

40 posted on 07/08/2020 5:40:33 PM PDT by House Atreides (It is not a HOAX but it IS CERTAINLY A PRETEXT)
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