This Surprising Animal May Actually Be Smarter Than A Chimp

So it turns out chimps aren't nature's only smarty-pants.

Scientists have found an unlikely contender -- the bird. Parrots and crows, to be precise.

New research shows that while the little nerds have smaller brains when compared to chimps, they tend to have far more brain cells.


To figure this out, scientists from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and Charles University in Prague counted neurons in birds' brains using a fancy device called an Isotropic Fractionator.

They tested 32 bird species including parrots, crows and owls.

Part of the scientists' report reads,

Because these 'extra' neurons are predominantly located in the forebrain, large parrots and corvids have the same or greater forebrain neuron counts as monkeys with much larger brains.

A raven, for instance, weighs just over 0.3 ounces and carries 1.2 billion brain cells. This is compared to the brain of a capuchin monkey, which weighs nearly 1.5 ounces but only carries 1.1 billion brain cells.

Scientists think that because bird neurons are packed in tighter than those of primates, it speeds up their cognitive abilities. In simple terms, we need to give those little bird brains a load more credit.