"Clearly, animals know more than we think, and think a great deal more than we know." - Irene Pepperberg (2009)

Bird studies

Recent findings on language competence of grey-parrots have put into question the assumed simple inverse correlation between language-readiness and genetic distance from humans. Although avian and primate brains differ significantly in size and structure, similar principles of organization are evident, reflecting a case of convergent evolution in relation to mental processes. Examples of convergent evolution in distant related species can therefore provide important clues to the types of problems that particular morphological or behavioural mechanisms are ‘designed’ to solve. Furthermore, in order to claim that particular components of human language are unique to humans, data indicating that no other animal has this particular trait is required.