Do Birds Really Understand What They Are Saying?


Perhaps because parrots can carefully mimic human voices (and many other sounds), many claims are made for their intelligence For example, that they understand abstractions like currency: After training eight African grey parrots and six blue-headed macaws to barter metal rings for walnuts, the researchers paired the birds up with same-species partners. They then put … Read more

Language changes, but God is constant | Brief letters


News that the Chagos Islands are to go on the green travel list (Report, 25 June) should allow Chagossians to visit the homeland they were exiled from nearly 50 years ago. This would be a first step towards an overall settlement with Mauritius, bringing the UK into line with the requirements of international law.David SnoxellFormer … Read more

Three weeks is a long time in politics for a creationist | Brief letters


As a small child at a convent school in London in the 1950s, I had an attack of hiccups in the playground one day. Mother Ignacius (a small, terrifying nun) was on duty. Beckoning me to her, she took a penknife from her pocket, opened the blade and pointed it at me. “Hold this!” she … Read more