Bird Brain

Posted by ardeidae on February 06, 2005

It was announced earlier this week that birds aren’t so…birdbrained after all. An international consortium led by neurobiologist Erich Jarvis of Duke University determined that avian brains are less primitive and more mammalian than originally thought. The previous system, developed in the 19th century by Ludwig Edinger, suggested that the avian brain was mostly capable of primative and instinctive behaior. But with the recent discoveries, it has been shown that birds are much more intelligent than that and now scientists are proposing sweeping changes(PDF) to the nomenclature of bird neurosystems to define the true power(PDF) of the avian brain.

NPR’s Day to Day has an excellent audio program talking about the recent study. PBS’s “Bird Brains” gives great examples as to how smart birds can be.


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