Humans are obsessed with parrots and their ability to mimic us. We keep them as pets, we fictionalize them (Iago from Aladdin is one of the great movie villain sidekicks of our time), we can’t get enough! After watching this video, I realized just how smart and interesting these birds really are, and that their abilities stretch far beyond mimicking our annoying human voices.
In 2016, researchers released a study with an incredible headline: “Monkey vocal-tracts are speech-ready.” The study verified that monkeys are physically capable of human speech but lack the brain capacity to do so. If that’s the case, what’s the deal with birds?
First, get the phrase “bird brain” out of your head. Parrots are actually pretty smart animals. In the wild, they’ve been known to create unique songs so their mates will recognize them. Researchers have found that flocks of parrots have “conversations,” and analysis of their brains shows that they learn languages in a similar way to humans.
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