Wednesday, September 14, 2011

(PM) Bird Brains

One neurobiologist blogging about avian intelligence (with special emphasis on crows):


  1. Though we may have exhausted the topic of the aesthetics of bird-work last class, here's a fascinating example from the Vogelkop Bowerbird... They spend years constructing these "seduction parlors":

  2. I'm glad somebody's finally put that saying to shame, I'm quite the bird lover!

    On the note of social intelligence in birds - GO BIRDS! Most humans haven't even figured out respect or the chain of command yet. Animal communication has always been fascinating to me - animals use lots of verbal commands, such as barking and whimpering - but many nonverbal commands as well, such as hand signals, staring, and other motions. For birds to be able to figure out their social structure on an intelligent level is absolutely astounding. However, the incredible thing is the Pinyon Jay's ability to recognize large groups of their "social class" at a time, and track their relationships for long periods of time. Now, your typical person may say "I can recognize a rich guy anytime, they wear suits and are well dressed". However, if we are truly to match the social adeptness of the Pinyon Jay, we must all look and dress as a typical person, and then make the distinctions from pure instinctual perspective.

    Philosophy certainly ties in here. I would argue that it is the fault of the human that avian intelligence was looked down upon. Just because they are smaller beings does not signify lower intellectual functioning. It was through intellectual courage and humility that we could arrive at this new finding, and it is with intellectual honesty that we must embrace the new information to truly live a knowledgeable life filled with learning and comprehension.