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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 20 October 2017 > Wisdom of the Flock

Wisdom of the Flock

Pigeons are much smarter than we think



CAN PIGEONS MULTITASK? THE QUESTION MAY SEEM odd, but answering it revealed a surprise about the birds who share our streets and dropped bagels: They are not only capable of multitasking but are sometimes better at it than we texting-and-walking humans. Birds lack a neocortex, layers of tissue in the brain thought to play a role in advanced functions, explains Christian Beste, who studies psychology at Ruhr-University Bochum, in Germany. Researchers had long believed animals without a neocortex couldn’t handle higher-order cognitive processes, such as problem-solving. But studies began contradicting that notion. Ravens, for example, rival apes in their ability to barter and use tools.

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PAIN KILLERS How the VA fueled The Opioid Crisis and destroyed the lives of thousands of vets. Suicides are the widespread despair behind them are yet another tragic element of a national opioid crisis blamed for most of the sixty four thousand fatal drug overdoses a year. Opioids, mostly illegally obtained counterfeit pills and heroin, now account for 63 percent of all drug deaths in the U.S., with fatalities climbing at an astounding rate of nearly twenty percent a year. In fact, the estimated number of drug deaths in 2016 topped the total number of soldiers killed in the Iraq and Vietnam wars.