In fact, getting called a "bird brain" might soon be a compliment.
According to BBC News, a group of neuroscientists just finished an exhaustive 10 year study. They compared birds to mammals in the hopes of making progress toward a cure for Alzheimer's disease. And what they found is that birds have been getting a bad rap in the smarts department for years! Truth is, birds have skills that would put even Lassie to shame.
Scientists in Japan showed pigeons pictures painted by Picasso during his cubist period and others by the famous impressionist Claude Monet. The pigeons had to peck a different key for each artist in order to obtain food. Once they could tell the difference between those paintings they were shown paintings by other cubist and impressionist artists.
Guess what? The birds were consistently able to tell the difference between the two artistic styles. The researches say this is great news. Comparing birds with mammals can teach them a lot about how brains work, and may one day lead to a cure for Alzheimer's disease.