Bird Brains Have as Many Neurons as Some Primates

If you own a parrot, you may owe it an apology. “Bird-brained” isn’t an insult: although a bird’s brain may seem diminutive, its small size only makes its mental capacities more impressive. Scientists have known for some time that birds are capable of complex cognition—as tool-making crows and discriminating pigeons reveal. The question was how nature had gotten all that neural hardwiring into such a small package. Research published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers a new explanation: bird brains pack neurons more densely than those of other animals. For a long time, the prevailing idea was that brain size most directly determined an animal’s intelligence and that neuron density didn’t vary much across species. In the last ten to twenty years that perception…


Link to Full Article: Bird Brains Have as Many Neurons as Some Primates