Do parrots have high IQ?


A few years ago, scientists from Charles University in Prague had found that birds have higher intellect when compared with animals and mammals.Scientists noticed that crows and parrots use remarkable skills such as using tools, recognising themselves in the mirror or learning to speak words.Do parrots have high IQ?

As the studies on the subject of birds’ brain continue, parrots hail the crown.

Although birds have tiny little brains, they manage intellectual feats and it is quite mysterious for the scientists.

Recently, neuroscientists from the University of Alberta have identified the neural circuit that may underlay intelligence in birds. Like humans, birds too have evolved, with a potential to provide the neural basis of human intelligence, mentioned the study.Do parrots have high IQ?

“An area of the brain that plays a major role in primate intelligence is called the pontine nuclei,” explained Cristian Gutierrez-Ibanez, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology.

“This structure transfers information between the two largest areas of the brain, the cortex and cerebellum, which allows for higher-order processing and more sophisticated behaviour. In humans and primates, the pontine nuclei are large compared to other mammals. This makes sense given our cognitive abilities,” added Gutierrez.

Methods which were used to detect the intellectual level of birds

Earlier, scientists from Charles University used an instrument called Isotropic Fractionator that counts the neurons present in birds.

However, this time, scientists from Alberta University have used samples from 98 birds from the largest collection of bird brains in the world, which includes everything from chickens and waterfowl to parrots and owls.

The scientists studied the brains of birds, comparing the relative size of the SpM to the rest of the brain. They determined that parrots have a SpM that is much larger than that of other birds.

“The SpM is very large in parrots. It’s actually two to five times larger in parrots than in other birds, like chickens,” said Gutierrez.

He further gave a conclusion, “Independently, parrots have evolved an enlarged area that connects the cortex and the cerebellum, similar to primates. This is another fascinating example of convergence between parrots and primates. It starts with sophisticated behaviours, like tool use and self-awareness, and can also be seen in the brain. The more we look at the brains, the more similarities we see.”

“This could present an excellent way to study how the similar, pontine-based, process occurs in humans,” added Gutierrez.

He also noted, “It might give us a way to better understand how our human brains work.”

This research was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University of Lethbridge.

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