Animal Minds: Parrot Edition

by F.

This is N’kisi.

He is “believed to be one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world.” Why? According to the BBC, he “has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.” And he seems to understand context:

He uses words in context, with past, present and future tenses, and is often inventive.

One N’kisi-ism was “flied” for “flew”, and another “pretty smell medicine” to describe the aromatherapy oils used by his owner, an artist based in New York.

When he first met Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned chimpanzee expert, after seeing her in a picture with apes, N’kisi said: “Got a chimp?”

He appears to fancy himself as a humourist. When another parrot hung upside down from its perch, he commented: “You got to put this bird on the camera.”

Dr Goodall says N’kisi’s verbal fireworks are an “outstanding example of interspecies communication”.

More here.

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