N'kisi

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N'kisi
Known for Intelligent use of language

N'kisi is an African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) thought to exhibit advanced English talking skills and other abilities.

Accomplishments[edit]

According to news reports and websites,[1][2][3][4] as of January 2004 N'kisi had a vocabulary of about 950 words and used them in context, frequently in complete sentences, had approximated verb forms to maintain the correct tense (such as saying flied when not knowing the past tense of fly), and did not depend on learned phrases to communicate his thoughts. N'kisi was shown as being supposedly capable of understanding photographic images, naming objects (within his vocabulary) appearing in a photo and inventing new terms for things he does not know words for by combining other words, like "pretty smell medicine" for aromatherapy oils. One anecdote recounted by the primatologist Jane Goodall says that, upon meeting her in person after seeing a photo of her, N'Kisi asked, "Got a chimp?"[5][6] It was claimed he demonstrated a possible sense of humor.

N'kisi also took part in a published scientific study of telepathic abilities conducted by Rupert Sheldrake and the parrots owner Aimee Morgana. The researchers who conducted the study claimed the results to present a statistically significant indication of ability, while the study[7] has been criticized by skeptics.[8]

Controversy[edit]

There is controversy about whether parrots are capable of using language, or merely mimic what they hear. However, some scientific studies—for example those conducted over a 30-year period by Irene Pepperberg with an African Grey named Alex and other parrots, covered in stories on network television on numerous occasions[9]—have suggested that these parrots are capable of using words meaningfully in linguistic tasks.[10]

See also[edit]

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