2001-2008
Home
Main
- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > Culture and Society

Feathered friends in 'not thick' shocker

9 February 2005

A few months ago it was fish that were waking slumbering scientists with their gargantuan intellectual capabilities. Now it's birds. Pretty soon there'll be no dim-witted animals left and mankind will have to initiate a global cull for fear of a Planet of the Apes-style coup. George Bush will warn us all of the imminent threat of the Animal Kingdom. He will label them bestial, inhuman, even ungodly. He may even speak of an axis of weevils. 'It's them or we,' he will intone gravely on the telly, as Paul Wolfowitz peels off his human hair and skin to reveal a giant, quite brilliant rat. (No anti-Semitism intended.)

Meanwhile this week apparently, the derogatory terms 'birdbrain', 'featherhead' and 'Stephen Beako' became obsolete as the Avian Brain Nomenclature Consortium of 29 World Neuroscientists declared that birds are *so* intelligent, they make rats, dogs and dolphins look shit.

For ten years, researchers have studied birds from all over the world, both in their natural environments and in tiny little cages. In one of these studies, Japanese pigeons were shown pictures by Picasso and Monet and asked to critique them. Most of the pigeons concooed that Picasso was a right old chancer who got a great deal further than he deserved, and much preferred Monet. One pigeon homed in on the heart-breaking tale of how he'd broken his neck flying into the glass of a Monet landscape. Elsewhere in Science, another researcher observed a crow die of thirst in an attempt to carry pebbles to a pitcher containing an unreachable inch of water. Newcastle University's Dr Tom Smulders spells it out: 'Many people have outdated notions of what birds' brains are like,' he said. 'But there are lots of smart birds who do amazing things... The idea that birds are bird-brained,' he continued, rather labouring the point, 'has been disproved. We now believe it is probably more likely that birds have human brains. Or possible those of dinosaurs.'

Next week: Blair quakes as slug writes best-selling biography.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free


 ABOUT THE FRIDAY THING
Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

READERS WRITE
"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved