Sunday, September 09, 2007

Alex (1976 - 2007)

Before my current incarnation as a myrmecologist and taxonomist, what most interested me (and still does) about the natural world was animal cognition and learning. Alex was a star in this field and has always fascinated me. I am saddened to hear about his unexpected death. From A Blog Around the Clock:
It is not unusal to write an obituary when a great scientist passes away. It is much more unusual to do so when a lab animal does so. But when that animal is not just an experimental subject, but also a friend, colleague, teacher and collaborator, than the species boundaries lose importance. And Alex, the famous African Grey Parrot, was just that, and more, to Irene Pepperberg and to the entire field of cognitive ethology. He died yesterday, unexpectedly, at the age of 31 (about half the normal life expectancy for the species) and he will be sorely missed. You can send donations, that will assure the research goes on with Alex's younger buddies Griffin and Wart, to the Alex Foundation.

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