Pigeons Can Learn to Detect Cancer in Humans

It turns out that pigeons can do things other than crap all over statues, terrify small children on the streets of NYC with their beady orange eyes, and be Mike Tyson‘s best friend.

Dr. Richard Levenson and other researchers of the University of California Davis have published a study in Plos One that says pigeons can actually learn to tell the difference between medical imagery showing cancerous breast tissue and normal breast tissue, reports New Scientist.

“… Levenson and his colleagues showed pigeons microscope images of breast tissue. Then they rewarded them when they correctly pecked a coloured button that corresponded to either cancerous or healthy tissue. After 15 daily sessions, each lasting an hour, the pigeons got the right answer 85 per cent of the time.”

When the researchers used what they called “flock sourcing,” which was comparing the results for multiple pigeons and going with the majority’s answer, they were right 99 percent of the time.

Those are some pretty quick-learning birds. I mean, I took Spanish for three years in high school and all I can do is ask where the library is.

Studies on birds have been proving how smart they are for a minute now, though. Crows, it turns out, can recognize human faces and solve complex puzzles. They’re actually about as smart as a 5-year-old human, according to Popular Science

And you thought it was robots that would take your job in the future.

source: complex.com BY

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