A scientist decided to determine if animals other than humans and chimps could communicate and learn. Chimps can communicate through sign language but do not have the vocal chords that are up to the task of human speech. Dr. Irene Pepperberg chose a one year old African parrot named Alex as her subject. An African parrot was chosen because the species has certain social characteristics in common with chimps that were hypothesized to lead to an evolved intelligence. First, they live in complex societies in the wild. Dr. Pepperberg believed that living in large groups would promote intelligence and that intelligence allows large groups to function. Second these parrots live long enough to make the process of learning worthwhile to researchers.

In his 31 years, Alex learned 150 words, could name 50 objects, describe colors and shapes and generally had the intelligence of a 5 year old child. Remarkable you say.

I say who cares. I cannot believe that Alex was the most famous creature to die that week. (This was The Economist’s weekly obituary.) It was only a stupid parrot for gosh sakes. I iterate, who cares.

Actually, for me Alex is just a lame excuse to display the classic Dead Parrot sketch from the first season of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I am including the abbreviated version which captures most of the parrot humor. The full version can be found on YouTube as well. Enjoy!

About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

2 Responses to Ex-Parrot

  1. Frank says:

    LOL…I love this one…great reference to Monty Python. LOLOLOLOL.

  2. Pingback: Dead Turtle? No It is Just Resting? « 48Facets

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