Chickens Surprise Scientists

A paper published in the scientific journal, Biology Letters, has challenged scientists’ view of the intelligence of chickens (and other creatures).

Many scientist have long believed that only humans use language to denote things in the world — that we’re the only ones who can point at an object and give it a verbal label.

But the research by Dr. Chris Evans and Linda Evans showed that golden Seabright bantam hens had twenty observed and specific calls. For example, there was a difference between the clucking one did for corn and for pellets. It was also noted that they could recognize each other by their facial features. Birds also understand the concept that if an item is removed from view, that it still exists (this was formerly thought to be the provence of “higher” animals.)

Does this study give me insight into the life of my girls? The research wouldn’t surprise anyone who has sat and observed their backyard flock. I already knew that hens can recognize their best friends in a crowd. I’d already been aware that the girls have a range of specific vocalizations. Actually, the study gave me more of an insight into the world of academia and scientific thinking than into my birds’ brains.

Comments are closed.