Alas, Poor Alex

Via the Alex Foundation

Gifted research parrot Alex found dead

WALTHAM, MA (SEPTEMBER 10, 2007)””Alex, the world renowned African Grey parrot made famous by the ground-breaking cognition and communication research conducted by Irene Pepperberg, Ph.D., died at the age of 31 on September 6, 2007. Dr. Pepperberg’s pioneering research resulted in Alex learning elements of English speech to identify 50 different objects, 7 colors, 5 shapes, quantities up to and including 6 and a zero-like concept. He used phrases such as “I want X” and “Wanna go Y”, where X and Y were appropriate object and location labels. He acquired concepts of categories, bigger and smaller, same-different, and absence. Alex combined his labels to identify, request, refuse, and categorize more than 100 different items demonstrating a level and scope of cognitive abilities never expected in an avian species. Pepperberg says that Alex showed the emotional equivalent of a 2 year-old child and intellectual equivalent of a 5 year-old. Her research with Alex shattered the generally held notion that parrots are only capable of mindless vocal mimicry.

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Alex was an amazing African Gray Parrot who may have even understood the mathmatical concept of zero

2 thoughts on “Alas, Poor Alex

  1. A few years ago I read a story about Alex and ever since then I take time to visit with the parrots at the pet superstore. I could never own a bird – my mother is terrified of them – but I try to take some time to interact with them. I figure it gives them an interesting bit of time in their day.

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