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May 2, 2013

Alex and me - book reviewAlex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process - by Dr Irene Pepperberg

       

I found the book both remarkable and sad. Dr Irene Pepperberg describes her early childhood which set her on a course to demonstrate the cognitive abilities of African greys and her life long struggle to prove to the close minded and close hearted scientific world that birds were capable of intelligence far beyond humans had credited them.  Alex’s impressive mastery included a vocabulary of over 100 words, new shapes and colours. He even invented the concept of zero or nothing of his own accord to surprise of all in the research lab.

In a captivating, highly readable style Pepperberg describes her struggles with life’s hardships through a divorce, relocations and loss of funding all through which she somehow managed to keep the study going.  The book is a tribute to Alex. During his life Pepperberg had to stay aloof in order to maintain the level of objectiveness demanded by her peers in order to her results seriously. It was only after his death that she could allow herself to express the affection she felt for him.  

For sceptics who have spent their lives turning their back on common sense and insisting on denying that animals and birds are intelligent, conscious creatures, the book clearly provides the proof that they have always sought.  read more »

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Posted: Thursday May 2, 2013, 9:41 pm
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