I never knew there were such things as “orinithological quiz bowls,” but apparently there are and the final question in one at Arizona State had to do with my favorite bird!
“Who is Alex?”
With the correct answer to that question, the team of Melissa Meadows, Matthew Toomey, and Bobby (Haralambos) Fokidis, all graduate students in the School of Life Sciences, won the inaugural quiz bowl at the fourth North American Ornithological Conference, held in Veracruz, Mexico.
The conference was the largest ornithological meeting in history and was attended by scientists from across the Americas. Each member of this three-student team from ASU was awarded a pair of Audubon Equinox binoculars. The prize was perfect for the avid and knowledgeable birders, since Meadows’ old pair had been stolen, and Fokidis also indicated he was in dire need of new binoculars, too.
So who is Alex? He’s an African Grey parrot who can label seven colors, count up to six objects, and has featured prominently in the debate over whether or not animals can “think.”
Booo to the “thinking” part though. Even squid “think” in some sense (PZ might argue that sense is higher than I would attribute), if thinking means problem solving and reacting to stimuli. Perhaps a better term would have been communicate. More importantly, I noticed that this conference was in Mexico. Um, sign me up for next year!
Get those janky binoculars outta my face fool.