Together with parrots Alex and Griffin, scientist Irene Pepperberg proved that birds could use human language to answer questions that would stump a pre-school child.
Griffin is a parrot with a lot to prove. For years he lived in the shadow of Alex, a birdbrain so famous that his obituary appeared in the New York Times and the Economist.
For 25 years Irene Pepperberg had worked closely with Alex to teach him words for different objects, materials and colours. He was also able to count objects up to six and was learning to read the sounds of various letters.
When Alex died in 2007 the spotlight turned on Griffin. For years he’d listened at the back of the lab while birdbrain Alex answered all the difficult questions, but with Alex gone Griffin has found himself mentally stretched. Irene continues to teach Griffin the skills that Alex had mastered, but he still has a lot to learn.