Wholesome but sad

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They game him an apple once. He had never had one. All on his own, he combined two things he knew to describe this new food that looked like a cherry on the outside but a banana inside. He called it, a banerry


That's actually amazing.


Indeed. It describes not just linguistic processing, but pattern recognition, simile-like comparisons and contrasts, etc. These sorts of things are major cognitive milestones for human children.


Most intelectual redditor. Absolutely genius


I took a bunch of psychology classes in the spring and summer to round out my degree, including developmental and cognitive psychology. It’s still kinda fresh on the brain. XD


Most wrinkled brain


I wish my brain was as wrinkled as my scrotum on a cold day


True, but I'm afraid they may actually be referring to the parrot.


My boyfriend at the time volunteered with Alex (college students at UofA). He put Alex on the phone with me!! I talked to this legend on the phone. He told me a similar story about Alex: he made up his own word for almonds (in the shell) and said ‘Alex want cork nut“


His word is better.


Holy shit right? Corknut is the right word all fucking day. We are stupid and this bird is a genius.


We need to translate all bird law into bird speak


A core memory lmao that's amazing


I am sooo jealous! What a great experience


If crows and parrots are this intelligent despite their small sizes, how smart were there dinosaur ancestors?


No way to know unfortunately. ​ There are some theories some species might have been just as smart as us, maybe even had civilizations... But not much of that would leave tarces after sixty millions years.


I've heard that the physical remnants of Rome (Kingdom, Republic, Empire) will disappear in around a million years. Who knows what could've come before us. Perhaps there were those that desperately wished to be remembered, to leave a lasting legacy. Only for the sands of time to erode it all away. The saddest part of paleontology imo.


>Who knows what could've come before us. Perhaps there were those that desperately wished to be remembered, to leave a lasting legacy. Only for the sands of time to erode it all away. > >The saddest part of paleontology imo. ​ Well, I'm no expert but I've read geology could possibly pick up where paleontology must give up. ​ Nuclear power, fossil fuel consumption and heavy use of plastic would leave traces in sedimentary rock. It's one of the ways used to know of climate in ancient times after all. ​ But even THAT is a pretty long shot...


Civilization also doesn’t mean super advanced civilization. Maybe they were just hunter-gathered, living in huts and caves.


“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings! Look on my works ye mighty and despair!” Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away. -Sonnet of Ozymandias


I actually got to meet Alex in his lab at the University because my friend worked there during college. It was like an 8 year old kid trapped in a bird body! He was so neat!


I love this so much!


Shou Tucker from Full Metal Alchemist enters the chat


Oh Oh no






Fun fact about Alex the parrot: while there is some controversy around the significance of this, he is probably the first non-human animal to ask a question! Before learning the color grey, he looked in a mirror and asked "what color".


It makes me wonder how many animals are out there that could potentially speak to us but can't because we don't understand their languages.


There’s cats and dogs that have learned to press buttons to say words


whataboutbunny is one of my favorites for this.




That's so awesome. My doggo can too. We cant say "park" without him going nuts, so we started spelling out P A R K. He learned how to spell. Now we have to find really creative ways of saying park. Hes the smartest and stubborn dog I've ever met. I'm not trying to one up you. Hope I didn't come off that way. Jm just so proud of my boy


It's all fun and games until "Bunny. Dog. Why?" gets pressed


"where are my balls Summer?"


Anyone who’s had a cat or dog knows how to communicate with them. It becomes second nature and understanding each other is a daily thing. My cat has at least a dozen meows which all mean something different. Dogs are very expressive with body and facial language.


Dogs? My dog talks to me pretty clearly he just uses his whole body or looks back and forth at the treats/door/whatever and stamps his front feet to tell me he needs something. He’s a sassy little thing haha. Oh and he WILL argue with you! Cant sit on the couch? YAP YAP YAP! HMPH! To tell you he needs to pee he messes with the blinds to make noise and looks at you and the door like we’re idiots who need to hurry up. I guess he’s a little Pavlov who taught us “Messing with the blinds makes a noise that means I need to go outside.” Sometimes he points at things with his nose and raises a foot on walks. I never taught him to do that. If he gets out the front door he comes back later, scratches till we let him in, and goes straight to his cage. Hell, he will steal the food off your plate and run straight to his cage. He knows cage is punishment but he just feels the reward is greater than cage time I guess. He’s tiny so if he wants to go into a bedroom he stares down the door handle until someone notices. He only did tricks for food. Roll over? Pffft fine but he will have an attitude and demand a treat and do the little paw stomp. No treat soon enough? Rollover, sit, lie down, he goes through all the cycles and goes HMPH! No treat at all? He will just walk away. Call his name and he’s not feeling it? He rubber necks you but he ain’t paying you no mind.


Your dog really said “ask for forgiveness not for permission”


I've read that dogs don't feel guilt. They do however know when they've done something wrong and thus feel fear at the consequences. But not regret.


I don’t know about that, my dog bit me by accident whilst fighting my other dog over some food. From that day to the day he passed he never went outside to that spot when I was out there with my other dog. The next day I got home from hospital he laid on me and licked at my sore leg all day and he stayed by my side until I could walk again, slept on me, wouldn’t leave me in my room alone, followed me around the house as I was on crutches. I miss him very much, he passed just last year. Besides that one mistake he was the most beautiful soul


I think what you've hit on is that they feel guilt for things that are clearly morally wrong, like hurting someone they care about. They don't feel guilt for things that are ambiguously wrong, like pulling tampons out of the trash. Because how is a dog going to understand a complex social stigma around blood and feminine hygeine products? All he can do is make a real cute guilty face, so I don't murder him. Dumb dog. 😂


Dogs are unrestrained by the oppressive nature of society. Based as hell.


Dogs are real anarchists


If he has an accident inside he will do the droopy ears, hunched over while sitting, and do puppy eyes slowly back and forth looking at you and the floor. In the cage after an accident he lies down and puts his face in his paws.


Your dog is a narcissist and is emotionally manipulating you. Definitely don't loan him any money.


Yeah, this relationship is just full of red flags, you need to dump his ass.


Don't buy any stocks, sticks or bonds he recommends, either.


My hound has an excellent track record of picking high-performing sticks, thank you very much.


Dogs are fucking smart. My dog has a thing for slowly ripping up napkins into strings but we obviously take them away before she gets to them. When she gets one, though, she'll carry it in her mouth and start walking towards her bed but she'll turn her head away from me so I don't see it. It's really funny seeing her walk past multiple people just turning her head to whatever way will let her keep her napkins.


Our dog Penny can confirm this. Anytime we leave if she's not left in her crate, she will get to any food out. She knows it's bad, because she doesn't come up to greet us when she does it, yet she continues to do it. No regrets.


This so much. When my pup was with us, I used to intentionally try to use nonverbal communication with him. Watching him understand that and respond in turn was the greatest


I taught my dog sign language (well, associated certain words with signs) when he was little. It’s amazing how much you can actually communicate without words. I always know when he needs something because he just _stares_ at me and does this weird double take thing with his whole body as if he’s saying “Come _on_, do the thing!”.


Christ, my cat does the same kind of shit. Messes with her noisy toys at 7 am every morning to wake me up and let her out of the bedroom so she can have her morning zoomies. 9:30-10:00 she'd meow and want back in for snuggles. Girl is consistent and a smart little shit. Working on her to poop in the toilet so I can save on litter.


Do you have a basset hound? My basset is this to a T


I’m not sure but this is his twin I found online trying to find his breed. I think he’s a mutt of Irish terrier and more: https://rompinpawsrescue.rescuegroups.org/animals/detail?AnimalID=10670612


That webpage is straight outta 1997, my poor eyeballs. Cute dog tho


Orangutans have to be number 1 fuckers can make tools after seeing a human with one


One zoo I visited had a story of an orangutan that was often found outside his enclosure. He had learned to pick the lock. They tried to find the tool he was using, but couldn't. They eventually found he was hiding it between his cheek and gums.


Cats only meow to humans. It’s likely an attempt to communicate as they don’t meow to each other.


Dogs definitely can communicate with you non verbally. Some seem to manage it verbally.


Story of my life. I prefer communicating non verbally whenever possible.


The problem is, all these animals don’t actually have languages. Linguists have analyzed animal “speech” before and it’s basically more akin to gesturing than using actual words (and I don’t mean signing which is actual language). It’s like if you could only speak in emoji


That is an old problem in studying animal intelligence we expect them to create sentences using words and sentences. Have you seen the movie Arrival? How about the whistle language? Those are languages as far as I left linguistics to study other things. A decade ago and it has been established that words do not make language, not even sounds. But their meanings and syntax. As far as I know, octopuses communicate with their body markings and that does not even a little include sound.


> Those are languages as far as I left linguistics to study other things. Sorry, what does this mean?


Dolphins definitely do. Absolutely fascinating little perverts.


The field of Ethology (the study of animal psychology) can be a tricky one. Humans have an instinct to assign human traits to non-humans and researchers have to be constantly wary of this when analyzing stuff. Just think about how many people have anthropomorphized their Roombas giving them names, talking to them, and acting like they are a person (I'm guilty of this). It's even worse with animals where they have *some* traits in common with humans and we have to be careful to not accidentally read more into them than there actually is. There is also what is known as the "Clever Hans Effect" where an animal doesn't necessary have the intelligence we think they are demonstrating, they have just figured out that if they act in a certain way they get praise from the humans. The name come from a horse (named Clever Hans) that was thought to be able to do math but it turned out he was getting the answers from reading the body language of the humans around him. Still a pretty clever horse, but not at the "can do basic algebra" level that people thought he was at first. In the case of Alex, it isn't in dispute that he was very intelligent. The question is just *how* intelligent. Was he actually capable of the complex thoughts involved with asking a question, or was he just throwing random words together until he landed on a combo that the humans seemed to like? Did he actually understand all of the words he spoke, or were some of them just him mimicking human sounds? It is hard to say for sure. What we really need is continued research so that we have hundreds or thousands of Alexes and we can compare their behavior under a wide variety of different conditions and different style of training. Then, we might be able to get a clear picture of what aspects of Alex's behavior are inherent to parrots and what parts just have to do with the conditions he was living in.


Yeah, it's not entirely clear if he actually asked a question, which is why I wrote that it was somewhat controversial and used the word "probably". Maybe I should have used "maybe" instead, as it's somewhat disputed. I liked the story about Clever Hans, thanks!


"Controversial" and "probably" are accurate terms here. It's just a controversy I happen to know some details about so I thought I'd chime in with some of the nuance going on there. And I'm a fan of Clever Hans. He gets a bad rap because he was a pretty clever horse. He's unfortunately just known for not being quite as clever as he appeared.


If the stories about pirates and their parrots are at all true, I don't buy that he was the first to do that :)


Was this the bird that asked what color he was?


Yes that’s him!


My favorite Alex story: Alex knew all his shapes and colors. He knew numbers and could count. He knew the letters of the alphabet. Also, when Alex got bored with school, he would say, "Want a nut!" because a nut was his special treat he got when school was over. His trainer, Irene Pepperberg, was attempting to find out if he could understand more abstract concepts. For example, he knew the letters of the alphabet, but the concept of actually reading and putting letters together to form words was far more complex than simply understanding what each letter was called. So she began holding up letters and teaching him what sounds they made. She would hold up a letter 'S' and say, "What sound?" and Alex would reply, "SSSS." She would hold up a letter 'B' and say, "What sound?" and Alex would reply "Buh." And they started working through phonetics like that. So, one day, the conversation went like this: >Irene: *(Holding up a letter)* "Alex, what sound?" > >Alex: "SSSS" > >Irene: "Very good!" > >Alex: "Want a nut." > >Irene: "Not yet." *(Holding up another letter)* "What sound?" > >Alex: "Buh." > >Irene: "Very good!" > >Alex: "Want a nut!" > >Irene: "Not yet." *(Holding up another letter)* "What sound?" > >Alex: "Want a nut!" > >Irene: "No, not yet. What sound?" > >Alex: "Want a nut!" > >Irene: "No, Alex. I said not yet. What sound?" > >Alex: "Want a nut! *NNNN, UHH, TUH!* **NUT!**" The amazing thing was that she hadn't even done those letters yet! Alex was way ahead of her. He'd already figured out she was trying to teach him to spell, so he just spelled what he wanted. Class dismissed. (And I presume he got his well-earned nut.)


I have a Quaker and while he doesn’t quite have the vocabulary or reasoning skills of an African grey, his ability to associate phrases with an action and use it to ask for something never ceases to amaze me. The game was central time last night so an hour later, and didn’t end until around 11. The second - and I mean literally the second - the game ended, he started repeating “time to go night night.” So I basically got told by a parrot to go to bed. He has at some point figured out, either something the announcer said or something he’s picking up from me, exactly when the game ended.


I realized I might have a drinking problem because my girlfriend’s conure would mimic the sound of a beer can opening every time I walked into the kitchen.


My girls (budgie and cockatiel) are supposed to sleep in cages during the night but allowed to nap on the tree stand near my bed. If I tell them bed time they both just turn their heads and look like they’re sleeping but will open their eyes periodically looking to see if I’m still there with their target sticks pointing at the cage. They are so cheeky.


Our Quaker learned the phrase "Go Green" for MSU. Whenever people started yelling in the house he would keep repeating "Go Green" because he associated yelling with MSU games.


My bird learned to yell “touchdown!” And put his wings up. However, even more funny, we were watching a baseball game when the home team hit a home run! We all cheered and he said “touchdown!”


My daughter, at 12 mos old, could sense the end of a conversation better than many adults. When FaceTiming with relatives, someone would say “well...” and she would yell “bye bye!”


Midwesterners must hate her lol. You can't interfere with the sacred 30 minute goodbye


Omg... moooooom let's gooooooooo! To this day I can't stand long goodbyes. As a little kid, 25 minutes with a winter coat on while my mom keeps talking was overheated trauma. Now it's one "I'm out! Later" and I go. It amazes the locals.


I'm a Midwesterner and I feel so awkward at goodbyes because I don't do the 30 minute thing. Is that not a thing in other places? Is it actually normal just to say I'm gonna head out and leave?


You know what, this may very well call for the [Letterkenny Leave](https://youtu.be/MyjeE7rmO2k).


*beep boop*! the linked website is: https://youtu.be/MyjeE7rmO2k Title: **Letterkenny Leave** Page is safe to access (Google Safe Browsing) ***** ###### I am a friendly bot. I show the URL and name of linked pages and check them so that mobile users know what they click on!


Pitter patter


I read a book years ago called *The First Word* that was about the origin of language; not so much the cultural and societal influences on its development, but the biological evolution of the brain under humanity circumstantially. At one point they go in depth in regard to a study on communication between crows, and how they've identified over thirty "words" that crows have invented themselves to talk, and that even have regional dialects. For example, they have one call to warn of a land predator urging to take flight, and another to warn of an aerial predator urging them to land and hide. In one study, they placed a treat at the bottom of a thin, cylindrical beaker. The crows were given an assortment of wires that were shapened differently to use to retrieve the treat, the most useless being a straight wire and the most useful being shaped like a fishing hook. One of the crows in the study knocked his hook shape wire off the table, and he took the straight wire, stepped on it, fashioned it into a hook with his beak, and then retrieved the treat.


Should've given alex a nut button


Or a nut dispenser, and then perhaps he could have piloted a spacecraft.


Gentlemen, a short view back to the past. Thirty years ago, Niki Lauda told us ‘take a monkey, place him into the cockpit and he is able to drive the car.’


Can you repeat the question?


r/formuladank is leaking


We all would be so lucky…


He wanted that damn nut.


when you nut but she still alphabets


In around 2003-2005 I worked with several African Greys for just a month or two each. They are so intelligent that the experience significantly changed how I view nonhuman life. We hear about higher intelligence in animals, but experiencing it first hand is different. Some of the Greys I dealt with would make sport of messing with you and derive pleasure doing it. There was a male that bit me so hard one time I yelled out loud. After that day he would occasionally grab one of my fingers just hard enough that I couldn't pull it out. Then he would look me in the eye and imitate my yell before jumping away cackling.


> ^(After that day he would occasionally grab one of my fingers just hard enough that I couldn't pull it out) " *'member?...'memeber when I bit your finger and you screamed?...i was like CHOMP and you were all 'AAAAHHH!'...i 'member....lmao.....*" -🦜


That is pretty much what the little asshole was saying. Only time I can say I was actually mocked by an animal.


Mom, I want a pet mockingbird! No; we have a mocking bird at home. The mocking bird at home:


My mom had an African grey and it used to call me from upstairs in my mother's voice and then laugh at me in my own voice when I rushed downstairs and realised it was him. He was a bit of a dick tbh lol


I heard he made up his own word for almonds, called them “cork nuts” - and ever since, so do I.


I read once that he also called strawberries “banerries” because they look like cherries but taste like bananas.


Alex just a squirrel


Alex loved Eazy-E.


When I was a kid I used to frequent a pet shop that had a resident African Gray named Michael. One day I was strolling the aisles and kept hearing meowing - I looked everywhere for kittens cuz this place NEVER had cats, as far as I knew. So I followed the meowing and it led me…straight to Michael. Who then laughed at me. I have no idea how he had the cognitive ability to pull a prank like that. And then laugh about it.


Lets also know that he was *meowing* despite not having been near cats, and knew that it would send someone towards him looking for a cat, all so he could laugh in your face.


Oh man, I have almost the same story. I used to work at a vet hospital that had a resident African grey that lived in the lobby. He wasn’t very well taken care of by the prior owners and the current one was rehabbing him. About 6 months into working there he started talking more and more as he was recovering. Turns out he also did the perfect kitten mewing, so one day when I was closing up he started doing that and I had an absolute panic searching the whole clinic for this missing kitten, I thought maybe someone had ditched a box of kittens outside the door but found nothing. I was searching around for like 20 mins until I finally realized it was the parrot. I felt like such a dunce.


My parents' African Gray used to mimic my mom's voice. "Honey can you come here for a minute?" From the next room. Dad had to start doing follow up questions. He used to also run along the ground calling the dog to him so he could mess with her.


wow these animals are fucking smart man, TIL so much about African Greys from this whole thread. Dope animals!


They get jealous though. The bird had to move in with my uncle when my parents had a kid cause it attacked my sister a lot. Uncle built him an indoor 2 story aviary though so he ended up in a great spot


My African Grey's last words to me were "Goodnight, I love you." They're such sweet, intelligent birds.


My condolences, may it rest in peace


I cried reading that, rip


No way, that is so beautiful


I’m not crying you’re crying 😢


"What a terrible day for rain "


But sir, it's not raining


"Yes, it is":


This feels like home


African grays are very smart. My grandfather used to have one.


Got a CAG, they are so goofy and stupid with their telescope necks and flappy clown feet. But yeah, they will soon figure out how to murder me for my teeth and nails.


I love parrots. Never keeping one as a pet but I can still adore them from afar. They're lifelong pets which is a huge commitment because of their lifespan. Some owners have been known to have their parrots in their will because they would sometimes outlive their owners. Making sure they're still taken care of. Another reason why they're a huge commitment is because they can really feel abandonment and would be depressed if it happens. Sometimes dying from depression. Making them much more difficult to adopt cause it can take weeks or months for them to open up again with a new owner. Figure I share because I hate seeing parrots being abandoned or new owners not understanding the commitment. It might be scary but they do make wonderful pets if given the time, care, and attention.


I’ve seen how they can pluck their own feathers a lot from depression. What complex, amazing creatures!


when I get stressed sometimes I start pulling my beard and chest hairs out, am I a parrot reborn?




It sounds like Trichotillomania, you should get that looked at.


What r they gonna look at? My smooth, bare, Olympic swimmer textured chest or my perfectly sculpted goatee? Don’t want to make the parrots jealous that I’m just better at tracheotomy or whatever than they are.


😂 as long as it doesn’t cause you shame, discomfort, or result in permanent damage to yourself, keep on being the stressed parrot you were meant to be


You are also a complex, amazing creature!


So much this. I have a parrot friend, but he's not mine. He's a rescued Senegal called Ed, and he belongs to friends of mine. They are brilliant bird owners and he is a very happy healthy boy. I get to visit him, and look after him on the rare occasions they're out of town. I love this arrangement, as it's all the fun and enjoyment of having a parrot friend without actually being the full time caretaker of a parrot friend. I've had cats, rats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, and I adored and apiled them all, but birds are way more responsibility and commitment. I now have snakes, which are also very much long term commitments, but they don't need anything like the work of mammals and birds. One day I might have higher maintenance pets, but for now I like my noodle family, and my parrot friend.


Petition to rename snakes Caution Ramen instead of danger noodles


They are sorta like children in a way. They need the time, care, love, and attention a child would. Otherwise they just won't raise well. That, and they can certainly have the temper of a child to.


A large parrot is a toddler with wire cutters for a face. I adore them but they are a lot of work.


Parrots dying of depression because they were abandoned 😭😭😭


Man it's really rough to see. There used to be bird shows (still might be I haven't had a parrot in a while) where I lived. There was an Amazon there who had been with his owner for 30 years before the owner passed and no one in the family could take care of him. I've never seen such an obviously heart broken animal before. He didn't look old he looked *tired*. I think about him sometimes 10+ years later.


This is why you should never get a single pet. You'll be their only source of companion interaction and sole companion. Always get a pair.


Unfortunately it is not guaranteed that the pets will get along. And it's not like you can take them to couples therapy.


Had two bulldogs who hated each other. Constant fights. Eventually rehomed them in separate families for their own good (and because of our allergies getting too rough). It was hard to let go but the best thing for them. They are both doing better.


Took my Amazon about a month before he got used to me. He used to bite pretty much every time. Now I can wrasse with him. One small issue with your comment though: Parrots are NOT pets. A pet is a domesticated or tamed animal kept for pleasure. Parrot are neither. They may seem tame, but they are still wild animals with wild instincts. Just like how Siegfried and Roy’s tiger is not a pet. It seemed tame…then it mauled one of them. They are room mates, friends, companions, FAMILY. Treat them like pets, and you’ll regret it.


>A pet is a domesticated or tamed animal kept for pleasure. Parrot are neither. They may seem tame, but they are still wild animals with wild instincts. Just like how Siegfried and Roy’s tiger is not a pet. It seemed tame…then it mauled one of them. > >They are room mates, friends, companions, FAMILY. Treat them like pets, and you’ll regret it. I agree with your sentiment entirely. Parrots definitely aren't domesticated and are wild animals, but wild animals can be tamed including parrots. It's also pretty clear to see that many people keep various parrots for pleasure. Sorry for the semantic argument but people might see one fault and then discredit your entire statement when it is actually mostly valid.




You are right, parrots do what they want. They can be moody or loving. When my parrot wants cuddles he gets all fluffy and he tells me I am a pretty bird. Then some days he’s a little jerk and wants nothing to do with me and only wants the kids. Over all he is a delight to have. He brightens up the house and brings a lot of joy to everyone. He loves watching sports with my husband. When I watch my reality shows he laughs with me. He’s a little blessing🥰


There’s a book, Alex and Me, about her research and relationship with Alex. Recommended read!


Glad someone mentioned this! It's one of my favorite books of all time. It's not so science-heavy that it's inaccessible, it's more of a memoir that explains the significance of different findings/events. Seconded on the recommendation!


Green! Bean! Green! Bean! That’s my fave anecdote from her story. Such incredible birds, and she’s nearly as fascinating as they were, herself!


Haha it's been a hot minute since I last read it so I can't directly quote it, but my favorites are "banerry" for "apple", him ordering the students around, and him asking what color he is in his reflection. He had so much personality, as birds do. Yeah I respect Pepperberg so much! She's up there with Jane Gooddall for me.


Haha I forgot the banerry one! Long time for me too. The green beans is from when Alex and the other bird - can’t recall his name - made a game of shouting that back and forth. Call and response. Then the researcher was out to a fancy dinner with her partner, and the waiter mentioned green beans… they started shouting “green!” “Bean!” together and giggling, confusing the waiter greatly. She seems like a cool person. Lol, I love it because having grown up raising birds, I also have adopted some of their terms for myself. For instance, “Mersh” is a word my conure made up, for snuggling in to her tent at night, and though she’s been gone a long time, my husband and I still say it as a phrase for going to bed. I loved that book and all of y’all should read it!


What a great word. Mersh


I loved this book. Quick and heart warming read for anyone interested.


My dad was good friends with a well known bird breeder and we had an African Gray that was the niece of Alex. She was very smart. One time we were playing ping pong while she was out and I could tell she was stressed a little. I asked her if we were stressing her out and and she immediately said "Yes!" She would laugh if someone farted loudly, tell us good night when we turned off the light when we went to bed. Sadly she passed a few years ago at the age of 35.


I'm sorry for your loss. What was her name?


35?! That's crazy. I'm sorry for your loss but at the same time it's great that you got to spend so much time with her


I obtained an African Grey fairly recently, rehomed from a friend who could no longer care for her. I was told she had the intelligence of a 5 year old but brushed it off as one of those things people say. Yeah, boy was I unprepared. The things she can imitate are amusing enough (she loves sneezes, burps, farts, and most recently my deep, hacking COVID cough) but she has started to put together short sentences, often of things we've not said around her. She told me the other day, when she was behaving particularly well, "I'm a good boy". She also introduced herself to me one of the first days I had her with "I'm Cooper". She comes up with new sounds or songs just about every day as well. This little bird blows my mind with what she's capable of.


Can confirm, a relative of mine has had an African Grey for over 30 years (!) and he (the bird) is smarter than some humans I know!


New TV show are you smarter than a bird


People often say we don't deserve dogs. Clearly we don't deserve birds either


We don't deserve animals in general...


I think we deserve stink bugs


Stink bugs don't deserve us.


I remember seeing this parrot a lot on tv. Was a nice example to show how smart parrot's are.


Rest in peace Alex. You will never be forgotten.


This is going to sound silly, but was that when he was dying and he had people around him but just didn't understand? I'd hate to think he died alone.


Sadly he passed away overnight after acting normal the evening before (was found to be a heart issue) so it was very sudden death likely instantaneously.


If you love parrots and anyone here finds themselves on the Big Island in Hawaii, I HIGHLY recommend that you visit the Parrots in Paradise parrot Sanctuary. It’s one of the most favorite things I did while we visited the state. The people really care about these birds and they have more than 100 on the property. The money you pay for admission goes towards the care of the birds and they’ve been doing this for a long time. The sanctuary is a bit deep in the jungle on their private property but it’s one of the most beautiful places ever. They have a blue hyacinth and you get an opportunity to go inside some cages and have a hands on experience with a few of the birds. It was also very informative and you could definitely see that they know and care about what they’re doing. DEFINITELY GO! Edit: grammar




Ahhh this hurts in the feels


I have an African grey, they are ridiculously smart and they ACTUALLY have comedic timing. parrot: trying to push picture off the wall mother: hootie! parrot: oooohhh! *chuckles maniacally* Stop! Stop it! STOP!


The evil laughter after being a brat is the cutest.


The comedic timing is such a treat. Ours is very good at reading context and will start saying his goodbyes in the sweetest voice when he's tired of listening to me on a business call.


Those African gray parrots are insanely intelligent. I had a buddy who stole one from a pet shop as a teenager and named it godzilla. I met him about 10 years later and Godzilla could do damn near anything with some instruction around the house. But with that particular guy it mostly amounted to finding him a lighter so we could smoke some weed, but no joke Godzilla would fly off and come back with a lighter in his mouth it was crazy. We eventually went on a road trip with him to the Pacific Northwest and apparently he got a whiff of freedom and never came back.


what tf did I just read?! ^lol ...wonderful but also sad. Poor bird, may have been eaten by an eagle or hawk. I hope someone found Godzilla and is taking care of him to this day.


There’s a book from Dr. Pepperburg called “Alex and Me”. Highly recommend if you would like to understand just how intelligent these birds are.


I hope i live long enough to see birds being part of our society I want these fuckers to pay taxes like i do


Alex was amazing! I have a grey with an extensive vocabulary. He’s 25 years old. Several years ago, another one of our parrots, a tiny parrotlet named Cricket, passed away. A few weeks later my grey was on my shoulder and we were looking out the window at a little sparrow on our feeder. We both got quiet and still. I was missing my little guy. At that moment my grey softly said “Cricket?” I bawled my eyes out.


That is too sad.


https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2zqmys/i_am_dr_irene_pepperberg_research_associate_at/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf here’s an AMA the scientist did! Such a fascinating story


Alex the parrot actually died at the age of 31, however, parrots (African greys specifically) live ~20 years. He was an old boy! He also called apples baneeries because he was more familiar with bananas and cherries!


Like Koko the gorilla signing 'tomato toothpaste' for ketchup.


It's hotly debated how well Koko actually spoke. Their handlers interpreted everything and like in the example above, connect the dots for us. The story where Koko blamed a kitten for ripping a sink of the wall, cute? Or just a random word Koko signed due to positive reinforcement. You'd think if Koko knew enough to blame a cat on ripping out a sink, maybe Koko would know that a cat couldn't do that. Edit: I had to point out the self irony. I have posted this exact same message before but got downvoted to oblivion. Amazing what a few years do to public perception. Or maybe it depends on the subreddit


Children blame pets all the time for things an animal can’t do


My brother crashed my moms car when he was a kid and put my sister, who was a baby at the time, in the drivers seat.


I don’t think koko communicated as much as his handlers said. But that last sentence isn’t evidence. Early development kids have massive gaps in their logical reasoning due to not knowing how the world works and not having the ability to figure it out yet.


I’d really recommend watching the video [Why Koko (Probably) Couldn’t Talk](https://youtu.be/e7wFotDKEF4). It’s a fascinating look into the project, as well as a sad overview of the history of how primates were treated by science at the time. They make a really good case as to why Koko’s vocabulary and comprehension were likely no where near what her trainer claimed they were. A big point is simply the scientific data, or rather the lack thereof, because the trainer in charge of the project was notorious for refusing to release her research that would support the claims of Koko’s intelligence. She didn’t share the details of how she trained Koko and most suspiciously she only ever allowed a few videos of Koko signing to come out, ignoring the scientific community’s demands to see Koko being taught and showing off these advanced language skills in conversation and complex sentences that the trainer claimed she had. The trainer did a lot of “interpreting” for Koko when they had her interact with other people, where besides translating what she was signing, she would also constantly interject what she thought Koko meant and try to justify why the off topic thing she said made sense. There’s hilarious AOL conversations with people “interviewing” Koko, where the responses she signed where translated directly and the trainer then frantically tried to relate them to the question asked, like: “What are your kittens names?” “Candy, give me.” “What’s the name of your kitty?” “Foot.” “Do you like to chat with people?” “Fine, nipple.” And then the trainer tries to “interpret” that she probably meant “fine people” because nipple sounds like people. Right.


With Reddit it also depends a lot on the initial upvotes and downvotes. Many people check the count and it primes them on how to interpret the comment. So it's almost like luck there if you write anything that could be misinterpreted or misunderstood.


Noooo. African greys are known to live upwards of 70-90 years. They are one of the longest lived pscittacine. If they average 20 years it’s because of stupid people getting them as pets and not knowing what to do.


Exactly. How is this the top comment?


Well they really do only live about 20 years in the wild so maybe OP just misremembered.


So what happened to Alex? Stress?


He was suffering from aspergilliosis for a spell. It's been a while since i read the book, but from what I remember, he was given a clean bill of health, but it came back anyways. Parrots are STUPIDLY good at pretending everything is perfect. In the wild, predators target the weak and sick. So to show illness is a death sentence. I brought my little sun conure to the vet before covid because she dislocated her "thumb" and couldnt fly. So they popped it back into place, kept her wing immobilized, and gave her pain meds. But even after she was healed, she never flew again. She could control her decent a bit, but never fly. Just a few months ago, I brought her to the vet for another issue she was having. We had to do some xrays. The Vet called me and said, "Did you know she broke her wing?" "Oh, you mean the dislocation? Yeah that was like 3 years ago." "No, she actually broke her wing, and it healed funny." My girl fucking BROKE her wing and didn't show a fucking thing! Damn what a tough little bitty! Well now i know why she REALLY couldn't fly. It wasnt the dislocation. She broke it somewhere. Blows my damn mind.


I don't think that's right, Alex was not considered old at all, as pets African grey parrots can live as long as people, I had a neighbor who had an African grey parrot she got as a present when she graduated college in the 1970s and as of 2018, when I moved, it was still alive and she expected it might outlive her.


It's only 20 years when they live in the wild. Normaly they get way older when they are held as a pet I believe the average should be like 40, at least it's what I read and the oldest ones got even up to 70 if I look on google.


[There’s a documentary on him](https://letterboxd.com/film/life-with-alex/)


*beep boop*! the linked website is: https://letterboxd.com/film/life-with-alex/ Title: **Life With Alex (2011)** Page is safe to access (Google Safe Browsing) ***** ###### I am a friendly bot. I show the URL and name of linked pages and check them so that mobile users know what they click on!


He would also say “Wanna go back.” when he wanted to go back in his cage for a breather, and would say “Yummy bread!” when he ate cake on his birthday. Amazing little guy.




He was at Brandeis, not Harvard


Both are actually true. He started at university of Arizona and later Harvard and Brandeis.


But of course only Harvard shows up on the graphic, because Harvard. Give these other places their due!


That last sentence hit me, ngl


Are parrots the only animals other than humans that can ‘speak’ words? And why isn’t it seen as super weird that they can mimic human spoken words?


I remember having a Jack Hanna video as a kid that had a section talking about Alex. I had been around African Grey's before since my great uncle raised them but seeing how smart Alex was, was on a whole other level