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According to a team of researchers, parrots have structurally different brain compared to other animals and this allows it to become good imitators of human speech. They said that the differently structures brain allows it to easily imitate human words.
Mukta Chakraborty, the lead author of the study and a post-doctoral researcher in the lab of Erich Jarvis, an associate professor of neurobiology at Duke University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, studied the brain structure of the bird.Chakraborty studied the gene expression patterns and found that parrots have coating or outer rings called ‘shells’ over the centres known as cores in the brain that are linked to vocal learning.
Researchers said that the parrots sue these shells for vocal learning and is thus able to imitate human speech to a great level. Researchers have been studying parrots’ brain to understand their ability to talk like humans but the new research shows that this is due to differently structures brain. Some other birds including hummingbirds and songbirds also showcase vocal learning but not to the same level as parrot.
Chakraborty said that the his team examined eight parrot species including budgerigar, conures, cockatiels, lovebirds, two species of Amazon parrots, a blue and gold macaw, a kea and an African Grey parrot. They identified specific gene that stimulate specific regions of brains in humans and other singing birds and compared that to parrots’ brain. They found that all species had shells around cores in the brain.