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
NEWS
Human Genome 20th Anniversary—Junk DNA Hits the Trash
The first rough drafts of the human genome were reported in 2001 (one in the private sector and one in the public sector).1-2 Since then, after...

NEWS
Bacterial Proteins Use Quantum Mechanics
Researchers have found a dimmer switch inside a protein. It tunes the protein’s configuration to take advantage of quantum mechanics during photosynthesis....

NEWS
Dr. Bill Cooper, ICR’s Adjunct Professor, Now in Glory
Earlier last month on March the 9th, Dr. William R. Cooper, ICR’s Master Faculty (known to ICR-SOBA’s faculty as “Dr. Bill” since...

NEWS
Inside April 2021 Acts & Facts
How will ICR expand biblical creation education this year? How do fossilized fish and land creatures confirm Genesis history? Does recent research support...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Bees
You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with ICR’s special Creation Kids learning...

ACTS & FACTS
Pleasure in Our Purpose
Eric Liddell was one of the most famous athletes of the 20th century and perhaps the greatest that Scotland ever produced. An international rugby player,...

APOLOGETICS
Beware Sinkholes and Other Failing Foundations
The sudden falling of some Christian schools can be compared to tiankengs, the geological term used for sinkholes that are at least 300 feet deep.1,2...

ACTS & FACTS
The Painted Desert: Fossils in Flooded Mud Flats
Brian Thomas, Ph.D., and Tim Clarey, Ph.D. The Painted Desert stretches across 120 miles of northern Arizona. Its sedimentary rocks show bright...

ACTS & FACTS
Does Recent Research Support Human Evolution?
In 1997, the Institute for Creation Research ran an Acts & Facts article on the lack of compelling evidence regarding our supposed evolution from...

ACTS & FACTS
Building a Perfectly Optimal Flying Machine
For thousands of years, people have dreamed of flying because they witnessed birds and knew it was possible. Inspired by a study of birds, the Wright...