Recent studies have discovered that pigeons can supposedly detect breast cancer as well as humans can, which is pretty amazing considering the fact that they are pigeons.
In a study testing their abilities to identify cancerous tissue from healthy breast tissue samples, the pigeons were able to identify tumors in microscopic images.'
"Pigeons can distinguish identities and emotional expressions on human faces, letters of the alphabet, misshapen pharmaceutical capsules, and even paintings by Monet vs Picasso," said Prof Edward Wasserman from the University of Iowa, a co-author of the study. "Their visual memory capacity is equally impressive, with a proven recall of more than 1,800 images," he added.
All the pigeons were taught to distinguish between microscopic images of cancerous and non cancerous tissue, by rewarding them a food pellet every time they got a correct answer. This way the birds learned to recognize cancer at different magnifications and image compressions, as well as with no colour present!
Pretty impressive, we say!