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New Research shows Pigeons can be taught to Read, just like Humans

The pigeon can learn to distinguish between real words and non-words by looking at the letter combinations

Pigeon. Pixabay

October 10, 2016: According to a recent study at New Zealand’s University of Otago and Ruhr University, Germany pigeons can actually be smarter than it was perceived earlier as they have the ability to ‘read’.

The pigeon can learn to distinguish between real words and non-words by looking at the letter combinations.

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The study proves that a non-primate species has some ‘orthographic abilities’- the ability to recognize a three-dimensional object which is represented in two dimensions such as words.
In the experiment, four of the brainiest birds were trained for over the course of eight months by the researchers.

The researchers called the process ‘autoshaping’. This process is involved shining a light through three holes to get the attention of the bird, soon after that food was to be presented in a tiny tray.

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After the completion of the process, several times, the pigeons actually learned that food is followed by the flashing of the light; they peck the light in anticipation of a snack.
Then, they were trained to peck four-letter words coming up in the three holes or when a non-word is displayed it is to peck a star symbol.

The research team added words one by one with the four pigeons, building up vocabularies ranging from 26 to 58 words and more than 8,000 non-words.

According to ANI, “Pigeons, separated by 300 million years of evolution from humans and having vastly different brain architectures, show such a skill as orthographic processing is astonishing,” said the co-researcher Onur Gunturkun

The researchers believed that a controversial theory called ‘neuronal recycling’ maybe the reason for the bird’s reading ability.

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The theory tries to explain how humans developed the ability to read and write
However, there’s no evidence that would suggest that the pigeons were actually able to decipher meanings to the words they recognised, as the humans do.
The research was published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

by NewsGram team with inputs from ANI

  • Diksha Arya

    Well Pakistan has been training them for ages and sending to our border to threaten our prime minister…

  • Antara

    The pigeons posess orthographic processing skill! Quite astonishing!

Next Story

Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

cryptocurrency. google
Google comes up with a new feature

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?