By David Catchpoole CREATION.COM
University of Otago (New Zealand) researchers found that pigeons have as much ability as monkeys to rank a collection of objects numerically, i.e. from lowest to highest number.
Lead researcher Dr Damian Scarf explained that until now, only humans and primates were thought to share the ability to use abstract numerical rules in this manner. "Our research not only shows that pigeons are members of this exclusive club, but, somewhat surprisingly, their performance is on a par with that of monkeys," said Dr Scarf. "Our findings add to a growing body of evidence that pigeons are among a number of avian species exhibiting impressive mental abilities that really do give the lie to the old 'bird brain' insult."
According to neo-Darwinian thinking, primates are our closest evolutionary cousins, yet birds and other animals can rival or surpass chimps in various measures of 'intelligence'—see "Bird-brain matches chimps", Creation 19(1):47, 1996.
Meanwhile, the profound differences between their mental capacities and ours reinforces the biblical truth that man is not just another animal, but made in God's image and placed as the federal head of Creation.
Like monkeys, pigeons can put numbers in order, physorg.com, 22 December 2011.
Pigeons on par with primates in numerical competence, Science 334(6063):1664, 23 December 2011.