Video: Bird Brain? Thanks! I’ll Take that as a Highly Evolved Compliment

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We know that birds have evolved separately from mammals, but what we haven’t known is how. In the absence of research and a better understanding, we have mistakenly assumed that the development of mammals somehow afforded them greater cognitive abilities, communication skills, and overall intelligence (at least when measured from the anthropomorphic human yardstick). A new documentary called Thoughtful Birds in Action shows how the bird’s evolution has advanced at least as much if not more (in some ways) than mammals.

Of particular interest to us is the segment on chickens. Exactly nine minutes into this video, Dr. k-Lynn Smith, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Australia’s Marcquarie University, chronicles her study of the complex nature of chickens, particularly their elaborate ways of communicating and interacting with their other flockmates. “Thoughtful Birds In Action” was directed by Dr. Deirdre Cobbin of the Faculty of Science at University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. Thanks to Marc Bekoff for bringing this documentary to our attention.

About Robert Grillo

Robert Grillo is the founder and director of Free from Harm, a non profit animal rescue, education and advocacy organization. Robert is the author of over 500 articles on Free from Harm and is particularly interested in the advocacy of chickens and turkeys who collectively represent 99% of the animals exploited for food. He shares his life with a flock of rescued hens and a rescued homing pigeon. You can email Robert at And you can find him on Google+ and Twitter.

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