HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
African grey parrot is first bird to comprehend numerical concept akin to zero

Waltham, Mass. A Brandeis University researcher has shown that an African grey parrot with a walnut-sized brain understands a numerical concept akin to zero an abstract notion that humans don't typically understand until age three or four, and that can significantly challenge learning-disabled children

Strikingly, Alex, the 28-year-old parrot who lives in a Brandeis lab run by comparative psychologist and cognitive scientist Dr. Irene Pepperberg, spontaneously and correctly used the label "none" during a testing session of his counting skills to describe an absence of a numerical quantity on a tray. This discovery prompted a series of trials in which Alex consistently demonstrated the ability to identify zero quantity by saying the label "none."

Dr. Pepperberg's research findings, published in the current issue of The Journal of Comparative Psychology, add to a growing body of scientific evidence that the avian brain, though physically and organizationally somewhat different from the mammalian cortex, is capable of higher cognitive processing than previously thought. Chimpanzees and possibly squirrel monkeys show some understanding of the concept of zero, but Alex is the first bird to demonstrate an understanding of the absence of a numerical set, Dr. Pepperberg noted.

"It is doubtful that Alex's achievement, or those of some other animals such as chimps, can be completely trained; rather, it seems likely that these skills are based on simpler cognitive abilities they need for survival, such as recognition of more versus less," explained Dr. Pepperberg.

Alex had previously used the label "none" to describe an absence of similarity or difference between two objects, but he had never been taught the concept of zero quantity. "Alex has a zero-like concept; it's not identical to ours but he repeatedly showed us that he understands an absence of quantity," said Dr. Pepperberg.

Historically, the use of "zero" to label a null s
'"/>

Contact: gardner@brandeis.edu
gardner@brandeis.edu
781-736-4204
Brandeis University
8-Jul-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Clues to future evolution of HIV come from African green monkeys
2. First all-African produced genetically engineered maize is resistant to maize streak virus
3. New clue why MS affects African-Americans differently than Caucasians
4. Stressed-out African naked mole-rats may provide clues about human infertility
5. Slow wave activity during sleep is lower in African-Americans than Caucasians
6. OSA symptoms more common among African-American women than Caucasians
7. West African Ocean sediment core links monsoons to global climate evolution
8. African carnage -- 1 years seized ivory likely came from 23,000 elephants
9. Survey finds perceived risk of recurrence low in African-American breast cancer survivors
10. African-Americans at increased risk for earlier preterm births
11. Missouris African-American mothers more likely to deliver prematurely

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/4/2019)... ... June 04, 2019 , ... ... salient features of seizure risk signals, usually based on variations of amplitude, frequency ... the only acceptable diagnostic methodology due to the complexity and variability of the ...
(Date:6/1/2019)... ... May 31, 2019 , ... The University of Vermont Health ... BioFactura’s $6M Series B Financing Round. , “With the commitment from the ... significant financial and business resources to bear as we advance our biopharmaceutical products ...
(Date:5/31/2019)... ... May 30, 2019 , ... ... in a live webinar on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 1pm ... teams, medical review teams, data management teams and contract research organizations (CROs) can ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/11/2019)... ... June 11, 2019 , ... A study ... stem cells (MSC-EV) are able to incorporate into human CD34+ cells, modifying their ... mice, MSC-EVs also increased the cells’ ability to lodge into bone marrow. This ...
(Date:5/31/2019)... ... May 30, 2019 , ... Object Pharma, ... the strategic acquisition of Metabiologics, Inc., a globally recognized leader in the production ... and commercialization rights to a full spectrum of botulinum neurotoxins, as well as ...
(Date:5/15/2019)... ... 16, 2019 , ... Emulsifiers are the magic bullet when ... rely on these ingredients to create stable quality food that can withstand shelf-life ... triggers food formulators to seek out alternatives for starches, gums and chemical emulsifiers. ...
(Date:5/4/2019)... ... May 03, 2019 , ... More than three thousand ... Association, the scientist and ufologist Urandir Fernandes de Oliveira, last Thursday (25), during ... results of some research carried out by the association, in partnership with scientists ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: