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My rationale was based on some similarities between parrots and primates. While he was at the University of Cambridge, Nicholas Humphrey proposed that primates had acquired advanced communication and cognitive skills because they live and interact in complex social groups. I thought the same might be true of Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus). Greys inhabit dense forests and forest clearings across equatorial Africa, where vocal communication plays an important role. The birds use whistles and calls that they most likely learn by listening to adult members of the flock.

Koehler and Paul Lögler of the Zoological Institute of the University of Freiburg had found that when parrots are exposed to an array of stimuli, such as eight flashes of light, some of them could subsequently select a set containing the same number of a different type of object, such as eight blobs of clay. Because the birds could match light flashes with clay blobs on the basis of number alone means that they understood a representation of quantity—a demonstration of intelligence. But other researchers, including Orval H.

Serve as analogues of those the We should note, however, animals must deal with in the that—just as is the case with huwild (right). In a typical experimans—certain cultural traits are ment, one group of chimpanno doubt passed on by a combizees watched a complex technation of imitation and simpler nique for opening one of the kinds of social learning, such as fruits, while a second group obhaving one’s attention drawn to served a very different method; useful tools. Either way, learnwe then recorded the extent to which the chimpanzees had PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT as a juvenile chimpanzee ing from elders is crucial to experiments with an artificial fruit it has been given to been influenced by the method “peel” after watching others do so.

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