Researchers taught African grey parrots to buy food using tokens. They were then paired up, one parrot given ten tokens and the other none. Without any incentive for sharing, parrots with tokens started to give some to their broke partners so that everyone could eat.

Parrots Will Share Currency to Help Their Pals Purchase Food

Parrots go bonkers for walnuts.

After snatching the seeds, these brightly plumed birds crack into them with glee. When offered the nuts as a prize, parrots will do tricks, solve puzzles and learn complex tasks. They’ll even trade currency for them in the form of small metal rings passed into the hands of human researchers.

“They all really like the walnuts,” says Désirée Brucks, an animal behaviorist at ETH Zürich in Switzerland. “They don’t get them in their normal diet, so it’s quite a good reward.”

But despite the nuts’ value—or perhaps because of it—parrots are also willing to share their treats and the tokens to buy them with other birds. Given the option, the birds will transfer the precious metal rings to a friend in a ne… Continue Reading (5 minute read)

8 thoughts on “Researchers taught African grey parrots to buy food using tokens. They were then paired up, one parrot given ten tokens and the other none. Without any incentive for sharing, parrots with tokens started to give some to their broke partners so that everyone could eat.”

  1. millenialfalcon-_-

    Middle class birds help poor birds

  2. tukekairo

    Except for that one parrot who horded tokens from everybody else…and now thinks he’s better than everybody else

  3. chodeboi

    I’m really excited to see what emerging technologies can help us learn about the communication architecture and communicative-abilities of these and other animals, even something as simple as accessible sound boards for dogs, ranging to ML mapping birdsongs to their actions on film.

  4. NCR_Ranger2412

    The birds are more human than we are

  5. kwadd

    And not so long ago, we witnessed humans hoarding TP and hand sanitizer.

  6. Rhawk187

    Interesting they shared tokens instead of just sharing the food.

  7. Hyphypurr

    I’m going to say it. Let’s be more like African grey parrots. There, I said it.

  8. NotThe1UWereExpectin

    Now if only we could get Republicans to understand this concept. Guess they’d have to become as intelligent as birds first.

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