The parrot Alex, born in Africa in 1976, has till now remained the only animal which has asked question about itself. Upon seeing himself in a mirror, Alex had asked, What colour?
He was told he was gray. He learned it after it was repeated to him six times.
Alex was an extraordinary bird who learned over 100 words. He had been subject of a psychological experiment at three universities – University of Arizona, Harvard and Brandeis University.
He was brought from a pet shop in 1977 by Irene Pepperberg, a scientist, animal psychologist and professor at Brandeis University and Harvard University. She wanted to study whether birds can understand complex problems related to language.
Not only Alex managed to learn shape, color or material of a certain objects, he could also give a correct answer when a particular object was shown in different shapes and colors.
For instance, when he was shown keys in different sizes, shapes, and colors, Alex had identified the object. he experiment lasted for 30 years until Alex’s death in 2007. His death was a surprise for everyone as he was in good health at the time and African gray parrots live an average life of sixty years.
Pepperberg argued that Alex had intelligence of a five-year-old human and the emotional level of a two-year-old human.
She further said that he didn’t even reach his full potential by the time he died. She concluded birds are animals with creative potential for using words.
Wasn’t he great?