Birds and especially parrots have always been regarded as very smart creatures. Despite the fact that birds have a much smaller brain than other animals, they proved to be much smarter than most of them.
For instance, the brain of a macaw is not bigger than a walnut. However, the bird is most likely more intelligent than a macaque which has the brain-size of a lemon.
It is also worth mentioning that one of the most remarkable experiments proved that trained pigeons were capable of spotting malignant tumors in mammograms with the same accuracy of a human radiologist. It is a huge discovery that testifies how intelligent birds really are.
Moreover, another experiment was done on a crow to establish whether it will be able to find a way to reach some nuts. Many obstacles were repeatedly set to prevent the crow from reaching the food. Surprisingly, the bird was able every single time to find the perfect solution to get to the nuts.
According to Suzana Herculano-Houzel, a neuroscientist at the Vanderbilt University, not only these species of birds have a higher level of intelligence but also the emu, zebra finch and 20 other species.
Pavel Nemec, a scientist from the Charles University in Prague, and Herculano-Houzel finally discovered the secret of birds’ complex cognitive behavior. Until now, many people have wondered how some small-sized-brain birds can imitate so well human behavior.
It turns out that birds usually have more neurons than many mammals. In addition to this, songbirds and parrots have twice as many neurons as most of the primates. This means that there is a higher density of neuron packing in avian brains compared to mammalian brains.
Based on the results, the two scientists established that parrots and crows had a high neuron package density situated in the pallial telencephalon, which is the part of the brain that controls personality, vision, hearing, emotions and so on.
Basically, this is what makes these birds so smart. Furthermore, thanks to the fact that birds have so many neurons, this could grant them the possibility of a boost in motor skills and sensory abilities. Most importantly, these findings have proved that you do not need a larger brain for more neurons. As it turned out, they could be packed in a large density.
Image Source:Encircle World Photos