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Science
Published: Jun 12, 2008
Pigeons More Intelligent Than 3-Year-Olds
by Staff

Keio University scientists in Japan say they have found pigeons are able to discriminate video images of themselves, as well as paintings of certain artists.

The researchers said they found the birds' video image discrimination ability to be higher than that of a 3-year-old human.

Keio University Professor Shigeru Watanabe and Tsukuba University graduate student Kohji Toda trained pigeons to discriminate real-time self-images using mirrors as well as videotaped self-images. They said the pigeons were able to recognize video images that reflected their movements as self-image.

Self-recognition has previously been discovered in large primates such as chimpanzees and recent findings show dolphins and elephants also have such intelligence, the scientists said. Demonstrating pigeons have that ability proves high intelligence, such as self-recognition, can be seen in various animals and is not limited to animals with relatively large brains.

Watanabe's said his experiments also proved pigeons can discriminate the works of specific painters, such as a Van Gogh from a Chagall. Furthermore, the pigeons could also discriminate other pigeons individually.

The findings are to be reported in the journal Animal Cognition. (c) UPI

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