Of all the birds in the world, pigeons probably have the worst reputation. Some call them "winged rats", which crap on the streets and spread disease. In fact, there is no reason for such an attitude, because pigeons are incredibly smart (and beautiful) creatures. A new study confirms that pigeons are some of the smartest birds living side by side with us.
According to this study, pigeons can not only distinguish between correct words and meaningless words, diagnose cancer and recognize which works belong to Monet's brush and which ones are from Picasso, they have access to such abstract concepts as space and time. It's just that their brain perceives these concepts somewhat differently than the human brain.
Researchers at the University of Iowa conducted an experiment in which they placed a computer screen with a fixed horizontal line in front of pigeons. The birds had to estimate the length of the line (6 cm or 24 centimeters) or the amount of time they saw the line (2 or 8 seconds). Pigeons perceived "longer lines so that they have a longer duration in time, and accordingly, lines longer in time, such that they are longer in space." This suggests that pigeons understand abstract concepts of space and time as well as humans and other primates.
But such abstract thinking happens in a bird's brain differently from ours. In humans, the perception of space and time is associated with an area of the brain called the parietal cortex; in the pigeon's brain, such an area is completely absent. Therefore, it is logical to assume that the pigeon brain has a different way of processing such complex concepts as space and time.
The study has not yet determined exactly how pigeons achieve what, it would seem, can only be done by humans and other primates, it is only clear that some other link of the central nervous system in pigeons copes with complex tasks no worse than the parietal cortex. human brain. It is also likely that other non-mammalian animals can also perceive space and time, which early scientists could not even imagine.