Monday, September 10, 2007

An unbearably poignant obituary

for Alex, the African Grey parrot who knew more than a hundred words:
Even up through last week, Alex was working with Dr. Pepperberg on compound words and hard-to-pronounce words. As she put him into his cage for the night last Thursday, Dr. Pepperberg said, Alex looked at her and said: “You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.”

He was found dead in his cage the next morning, and was determined to have died late Thursday night.


  1. Now in the article I just read, it said:

    Pepperberg said she and Alex went through their good-night routine, in which she told him it was time to go in the cage and said: "You be good. I love you. I'll see you tomorrow." To which Alex said, "You'll be in tomorrow."

    Which is interesting, in a linguistic/journalism kind of way, because not only is the quote differently attributed, but the wording is different.

  2. I wrote a paper my sophomore year about language skills in non-human animals, and Alex was one of the stars. How great that the NYT wrote him an obit! I wonder if Washoe and Kanzi will get one when their time comes? They're both pretty remarkable chimps!