Amoeblog


Alex the Parrot

Posted by Whitmore, September 9, 2007 09:51pm | Post a Comment

  The Alex Foundation has announced that the
  world famous African Grey Parrot, Alex, died 
  on September 7, 2007. The cause of death is
  unknown but an announcement is expected
  later this week, though it has been suggested
  that Alex might have died from Aspergillosis, a
  fungal infection of the lungs he has battled in
  the past.


  Alex was purchased by Dr. Irene Pepperberg
  at a Chicago pet store in 1977. He has been
  the featured parrot for more than 30 years of
  research into the intelligence of African Grey
  Parrots, most recently at the Department of
  Psychology at Brandeis University in
  Waltham, MA. The name Alex is actually an
  acronym, A.L.EX., standing for Avian Learning
  EXperiment.

Alex’s intelligence was said to be quite amazing. He had a vocabulary of more than a 100 words, but what was exceptional about him was that he appeared to understand what he actually said. For example, when Alex was shown an object and was asked about its shape, color, or material, he could label it correctly. According to a New York Times article in 1999 he could “identify 50 different objects and cognize quantities up to 6; that he could distinguish 7 colors and 5 shapes, and understand the concepts of ‘bigger’, ‘smaller’, ‘same’, and ‘different’,’ and that he was learning ‘over’ and ‘under’.” Pretty amazing if you ask me, I know some people who can’t “cognize” that well themselves…

I use to have a cockatiel, Mordecai, named after the turn of the century ballplayer Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown … and let me tell you that bird was also pretty damn smart … at least I thought so until he flew out the door into the big bad city oblivion of east Hollywood … oh Mordecai, I hope your still out there buzzing around, livin’ large or at least as large as a little yellow cockatiel can live!

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Obits (63), Education (3), Parrots (1)