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Profile: Irene Pepperberg & Alex

One woman's 30-year relationship with an African gray parrot transformed our understanding of bird intelligence.
Publish Date: Topic: NatureNature

An unlikely scientific team, Irene Pepperberg and her talking parrot, Alex, revolutionized scientists' ideas about animal communication and intelligence. Yet even after Alex's premature death, Pepperberg still struggles to convince some critics that Alex's accomplishments—counting, reasoning, identifying shapes and colors—are more than mere party tricks. (In this photo, Pepperberg poses with a new study subject named Griffin.)

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 0917517. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Image credit: (Irene Pepperberg and Griffin the parrot)
Courtesy Laura Willcox, © WGBH Educational Foundation
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