Birds’ brains

Published April 25, 2020

Sure there are dumb birds, but in gen­er­al they’re pret­ty smart, all because of the void left by the dinosaurs. It seems that when dinosaurs were wiped out, birds got small­er — but their brains stayed the same size, or in some cas­es grew larg­er.

So today, while you have, um, cog­ni­tive­ly-chal­lenged birds like emus, pigeons, and moas, most birds evolved to be smarter, with a few being notably smart:

The two groups of birds with tru­ly excep­tion­al brain sizes evolved rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly: par­rots and corvids (crows, ravens, and kin). These birds show tremen­dous cog­ni­tive capac­i­ty, includ­ing the abil­i­ty to use tools and lan­guage, and to remem­ber human faces.

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