Alex (1976 – September 6, 2007) was an African Grey Parrot and the subject of a thirty-year (1977-2007) experiment by animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg, initially at the University of Arizona and later at Harvard and Brandeis University. Pepperberg bought Alex in a regular pet shop when he was about one year old. The name Alex is an acronym for Avian Learning EXperiment.His successor was Griffin. Before Pepperberg’s work with Alex, it was widely believed in the scientific community that birds were not intelligent and could only use words by mimicking, but Alex’s accomplishments indicated that birds may be able to reason on a basic level and use words creatively. Pepperberg wrote that Alex’s intelligence was on a par with that of dolphins and great apes. She also reported that Alex had the intelligence of a five-year-old human and had not even reached his full potential by the time he died. She said that the bird had the emotional level of a human two-year-old at the time of his death.