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Understanding Avian Intelligence

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Chapter Summary

The astonishing advances made in microbiology, genetics, and biochemistry in recent decades has brought new understanding to the internal constituents of living organisms and their evolution. The behaviors of protein molecules, DNA, chromosomes, enzymes, and the processes that distribute nutrients to cells have become intelligible. Evolutionary biology has broken down the separation between human behavior and that of other animal species, and cognitive ecology and cognitive science, is breaking down the separation between human intelligence and the cognitive abilities of other animal species. Cognitive ecology opens the possibility of understanding not only the intelligibility of the perception and behavioral responses of other species, but their intelligence. It also opens the possibility of new understanding of human intelligence. One can predict that the ways the philosophy of mind has conceptualized the perception of space and time, cognitive trial and error, categorizing intelligence and self-consciousness will be transformed by these developments.

Keywords: animal species; avian intelligence; cognitive ecology; evolutionary biology; human behavior

10.1163/ej.9789004157736.i-296.24
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