Thursday, October 04, 2007

Alex's Pathology Report Released Today

For those who may not be familiar with the achievements of Alex the African Grey Parrot, here is his obituary from his colleagues at The Alex Foundation.

Known as one of the most famous African Grey parrots in history, Alex pioneered new avenues in avian intelligence. He possessed more than 100 vocal labels for different objects, actions, colors and could identify certain objects by their particular material.

He could count object sets up to the total number six and was working on seven and eight. Alex exhibited math skills that were considered advanced in animal intelligence, developing his own “zero-like” concept in addition to being able to infer the connection between written numerals, objects sets, and the vocalization of the number.

Alex was learning to read the sounds of various letters and had a concept of phonemes, the sounds that make up words.Alex’s personality was very evident in his everyday life. He was “in charge” of his home and relished ordering “his” humans to perform various tasks for him. He also acted as a coach and cheerleader to his fellow birds, Wart and Griffin, alternately encouraging or admonishing them during their lessons.

His favorite toys were cardboard boxes, key chains and corks.

Purchased from a Chicago pet store in June, 1977, at that time he was 12 to 13 months old. Alex came from humble beginnings. Alex’s accomplishments proved that all African Grey parrots have an intelligence far beyond what was previously thought before his decades-long work with Dr. Pepperberg.

Sadly, Alex passed way on September 6, 2007. He was 31 years old.

We miss him dearly.

Fly high Little dude!


Alex died quickly. He had a sudden, unexpected catastrophic event associatedwith arterosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries"). It was either a fatal arrhythmia, heart attack or stroke, which caused him to die suddenly with no suffering.

There was no way to predict his demise. All of his tests, including his cholesterol level and asper levels, came back normal earlier that week. His death could not be connected to his current diet or his age; our veterinarian said that she has seen similar events in young (10 year old) birds on healthy diets. Most likely, genetics or the same kind of low-level (impossible to detect in birds as yet) inflammatory disease that is related to heart disease in humans was responsible.

We will have no further information

The Alex Foundation
As Alex went "to bed" his last night...

Alex: I love you.
Dr. Pepperberg: I love you, too.
Alex: You'll be in tomorrow?
Dr. Pepperberg: Yes, I'll be in tomorrow.


Goodnight, Alex.

Donegal Browne

No comments: