Ever since Galileo argued that the sun was the center of the solar system, the idea of Earth as the universal hub has been the classic example of scientific arrogance. It's certainly a foolproof example of the way humans consider themselves the rule by which everything else should be measured, but when we use it, there's a sense that we don't make that kind of mistake anymore. Yet even today scientists are swayed by the notion that humans stand at the center of the biological universe, especially when it comes to what we care about most: our minds.
Alex is dead. The 31-year-old African gray parrot was a resident of Irene Pepperberg's lab at Brandeis University, and for decades Pepperberg taught Alex elements of English. As a result, he had the language capabilities of a two-year-old and the cognitive capacity of an older child. The famous bird was filmed by camera crews from all over the world, he appeared in stories in major newspapers, Pepperberg wrote a book about him, and he was featured on Scientific American Frontiers ("He loved Alan Alda," said Pepperberg)... More at The Huffington Post.