Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bird Brain

Birds exhibit a wide range of intelligent behaviours despite having relatively tiny brains. Parrots mimic human speech and crows possess the intelligence of a seven year old child. Birds solve complex puzzles and make tools.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences measured the number of neurons in the brains of more than a dozen bird species, from tiny zebra finches to the six-foot-tall emu. Neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel and her team at Vanderbilt University discovered that avian brains contain more neurons per square inch than mammalian brains.

The study also shows that evolution has found more than one way to build a complex brain.

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