Arguably best known for her work with another parrot, Alex, whose intelligence was estimated as equal to that of a 6-year-old child, Irene Pepperberg in recent decades effectively rewrote concepts of animal intelligence and how those findings could shed light on the origins of human intellect. Earlier this year she relocated her lab from Brandeis University to Harvard, where she has continued her experiments with Griffin and a new bird, Athena, who is just 6 months old.

Pepperberg’s most recent research, which was conducted with Harvard psychology Professor Ken Nakayama, showed that Griffin could correctly identify shapes even when they were partly obscured. This capacity likely has its origins in survival abilities — for example, in recognizing a partially hidden predator.

Read more: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/12/polly-want-a-vocabulary/


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