If you’re interested, this 1982 documentary has some great footage of Alex using English words to identify objects. Really cool stuff. Every time he gets one right, before she can even hand him his treat, he says “I want a nut” XD
Oh my god I’m crying.
Irene spent 30 years socializing Alex and he eventually became as smart as a 5 year old human. He could speak English and was able to convey ideas and coin new words. Like, he knew the words “yummy” and “bread” and when she made him a birthday cake he called it “yummy-bread” because he didn’t know the word for cake.
It took years and years of training him out of her own pocket before anyone would even give he grant money to study him “officially” and now she’s one of the most well-respected animal behavior scientists.
She had a routine with Alex where every night she’d say “Goodnight Alex, I love you!” and he’d say “I love you!” and then she’d turn off the light and go to bed. Recently, after going through their routine, she came by the next morning and he had passed away.
Why hey there, Irene Pepperberg’s Moth story.
When I read her book, I couldn’t make it through the first sentence on the dust jacket without crying.
As a storytelling blog, it would be remiss of me not to direct you all to the Moth story link above. A well-spent 15 minutes on YouTube, if you can spare the time.