CLOSE

Morning Cup of Links: Peeps in Space

Peeps in Space. An adventurous astro-peep flies to the edge of space on a balloon mission, nearly 97,000 feet high!
*
Baby Farming in Victorian England. Regulations designed to enforce morality and save government money led to a lucrative infanticide industry.
*
Why would someone pay $55.71 for a $50 gift card on eBay? Commenters come up with many reasons.
*
How Do They Do That 2: 10 Awesome and Intriguing Flash Animations. The sequel to last week's list. And just as good.
*
Dreams and Desperation on Forsyth Street. How one bus stop encapsulates the American immigrant experience.
*
Nectar of the Broke: The World's 5 Worst Ways To Get Drunk. This list might turn you off alcohol forever. I said "might".
*
Are smart kids more likely to be depressed? They are at least more likely to suffer an existential crisis.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
arrow
video
Bone Broth 101
5669938080001

Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
science
Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
iStock
iStock

If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios