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Alex is the African gray parrot whose ability to master a vocabulary of more than 100 words and answer questions about the color, shape and number of objects—garnered wide notice during his life as well as obituaries in worldwide media after his death in September 2007. Pepperberg, who teaches animal cognition, has previously documented the results of her 30-year relationship with Alex in The Alex Studies. While this book inevitably covers some of the same ground, it is a moving tribute that beautifully evokes the struggles, the initial triumphs, the setbacks, the unexpected and often stunning achievements during a groundbreaking scientific endeavor spent uncovering cognitive abilities in Alex that no one believed were possible, and challenging science's deepest assumptions about the origin of human cognitive abilities. Pepperberg deftly interweaves her own personal narrative—including her struggles to gain recognition for her research—with more intimate scenes of life with Alex than she was able to present in her earlier work, creating a story that scientists and laypeople can equally enjoy, if they can all keep from crying over Alex's untimely death. (Nov.)
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Alex, an African gray parrot, died suddenly in his 30s and was mourned the world over. Pepperberg, Alex’s owner and researcher, limns the importance of Alex’s life and her work with him on the subjects of intelligence, cognition, and language. Pepperberg started her academic career pursuing a doctorate in chemistry, but she changed her focus to animal communication. Choosing to work with an African gray, due to their reputations as clear talkers, the author had the pet store choose a bird for her so that the choice would be random. The result was Alex, a parrot that would forever change the way science looked at the cognitive abilities of birds. In this highly readable, anecdotal book, Pepperberg describes the training techniques she and her assistants used with Alex, the breakthroughs he made, and his growing fame as word began to spread about the brainy parrot who could differentiate colors, count, and describe objects accurately and in human language. The flip side of Alex’s fame was the resistance Pepperberg faced from the entrenched scientific community. --Nancy BentSee all Editorial Reviews
Haviing followed her & That Damn Bird since 2003, it was fulfilling to have her backstory. As a brillent scientist, first at MIT, then Harvard, Pepperburg reflects the treism... Read morePublished 24 days ago by D. Diderot
What an amazing journey! I lived with a Grey back in the mid 70's, wish I had know more about parrots at the time. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kathy Weber
An autobiografical and sometimes even confessional report of Irene Pepperberg, her research and her relationship with Alex.Published 1 month ago by Francisco Lobello de Oliveira Rocha
I READ THIS BOOK A LONG TIME AGO & LOVED IT. RECENTLY I SAW ON TV A PBS PROGRAM ON BIRD INTELLIGENCE & IT REMINDED
ME OF THE BOOK. Read more
Easy to listen to and the story was very interesting. I learned about the research method and the interaction between animals and humans in a research environment. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cindy
I have only recently become interested in the plight of wild caught , captive parrots kept as house pets. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jodie Reed