Neuron-Packed Bird Brains Point to Creation | The Institute for Creation Research

Neuron-Packed Bird Brains Point to Creation

The amazing ability of birds to achieve ape-level cognitive traits—and in some cases exceed them like when they emulate human speech—has long confounded the evolutionary paradigm that claims humans evolved from apes. Now the bird intelligence evolutionary quandary has worsened as described in a new research report that shows bird brains contain over twice as many neurons per unit area as ape brains.1

Many different types of birds have cognitive abilities that either match or surpass those of mammals despite the fact their brains tend to be much smaller. In fact, corvids (e.g., crows, ravens, jays) and some parrots either rival or exceed the mental capabilities of apes. Their remarkable capabilities include: manufacturing and using simple tools, solving problems with ingenuity and insight, making accurate inferences about causal mechanisms, recognizing themselves in a mirror, making preparations for future needs, and using their own experience to anticipate future behavior of members of their own and other species.1 In addition, these birds share with humans a rare capacity for exceptional vocal learning, and parrots can learn sophisticated words and even use them to communicate at a basic level with humans.

So how do birds achieve impressive cognitive expertise with brains that are often only the size of a walnut? In this new report, the researchers investigated the cellular structure and composition of the brains of 28 bird species. They actually uncovered a straightforward engineering-based design solution to this mystery. It was discovered that the brains of songbirds and parrots contain very large numbers of neurons (specialized nerve cells), at neuronal densities that far exceed those found in mammals. Because these more numerous and dense neurons are mostly located in the forebrain region, large parrots and corvids actually have the same or greater forebrain neuron cell numbers as apes with considerably larger brains. As a result of this amazing brain architecture, these neuron-dense bird brains have the potential to provide much greater cognitive power per unit mass than do many mammalian brains.

As shown in this news story, many birds are as advanced or more so than apes in their cognitive abilities and neuron structure. In a recent ICR news article, I noted that secular media stories are attempting to humanize chimpanzees to prop up the failing evolutionary story that humans evolved from apes.2 As I also commented, these types of publicity efforts are examples of cherry-picking data from the animal kingdom convenient to the evolutionary story. What about birds and the amazing design of their brains? Well, it's inconvenient to the evolutionary story.

Humans are made in God's image. An animal's brain structure is unique to its inherent engineered features. The reason these design patterns don't fit the evolutionary story is because they exemplify the incredible engineering and creativity of our great Creator God who created everything unique after its kind.

References

  1. Olkowicz, S., et al. 2016. Birds have primate-like numbers of neurons in the forebrain. PNAS Early Edition. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1517131113. Posted on pnas.org May 6, 2016, accessed June 15, 2016. 
  2. Tomkins, J. 2016. Is Chimp Grief Evidence of Evolution? Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org June 9, 2016, accessed June 15, 2016. 

*Dr. Tomkins is Director of Life Sciences at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in genetics from Clemson University.

Article posted on June 20, 2016.

The Latest
CREATION.LIVE PODCAST
Forged in Faith: The Hard Work of Making Disciples | Creation.Live...
Jesus commanded that we make disciples, but what does that mean in this modern world? Has the church gone soft?   Hosts Trey and...

NEWS
Algal Microfossils Show No Evolution
Creation scientists maintain that if something is living, then it’s automatically complex. This applies to organisms ranging from a single bacterium...

CREATION PODCAST
Rapid Erosion Devastates Deep Time! | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
Erosion takes place slowly, over millions of years, right? That's what mainstream science tells us anyway. Or, does erosion happen far more...

NEWS
Flood Solves Land and Marine Mixing Near the Andes
A recent article published by Hakai Magazine claims to reveal secrets of an ancient inland sea that existed east of the Andes Mountains,1...

NEWS
T. rex Out of Nowhere
As one of the largest predators ever at 45 feet long, it’s no wonder school children are enthralled with Tyrannosaurus rex. But where did the...

NEWS
February 2024 ICR Wallpaper
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (1 John 4:11 NKJV) ICR February 2024 wallpaper is now available...

NEWS
Evolutionist and ICR Research Both Attempting to Explain Fossil...
Recent evolutionary research is attempting to provide an explanation for why some animals became smaller over time. Or equivalently, it is attempting...

NEWS
Animal Features Did Not Evolve
There’s no doubt that animals in God’s creation have iconic features. The question is, did these features evolve or were they created that...

CREATION PODCAST
Taking a Closer Look at Uniquely Human Eyes | The Creation Podcast:...
While we might take them for granted, our eyes are incredibly complex organs. How do they work? Is it possible for eyes to have evolved over long...

NEWS
The Conserved Complexity of Eye Cell Types
The late leading evolutionary biologist, Ernst Mayr, said the eye appeared at least 40 times “during the evolution of animal diversity.”1...