Pigeons can tell the difference between healthy tissue and a tumor, and they might be able to sit in for humans doing some of the more boring chores in a pathology lab, researchers said Wednesday.
They’re especially eagle-eyed when it comes to diagnosing breast cancer, it seems, the researchers report in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE.
They flunk out on reading mammograms, however, so don’t look for the birds to be replacing human specialists any time soon, the teams at the University of Iowa and the University of California Davis said.
“The birds were remarkably adept at discriminating between benign and malignant breast cancer slides at all magnifications, a task that can perplex inexperienced human observers, who typically require considerable training to attain mastery,” said Richard Levenson, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at UC Davis Health System who worked on the study.
“Pigeons’ accuracy from day one of training at low magnification increased from 50 percent correct to nearly 85 percent correct at days 13 to 15.”
Levenson and colleagues decided to train pigeons after they saw a long history of studies showing they can detect patterns pretty well.
“Research over the past 50 years has shown that 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 Edward Wasserman, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Iowa who worked on the study.
“Their visual memory is equally impressive, with a proven recall of more than 1,800 images.”
We like to keep things light at Survival Life by featuring a “weird news” story once in a while. Have you heard a strange or funny weird news story lately? Share it in the comments and it just might be featured on the site!
Want more? Check out other articles on our site:
Paracord Projects8 months ago
Paracord Projects | 36 Cool Paracord Ideas For Your Paracord Survival Projects
Survival Skills9 months ago
377 Survival Hacks You Should Learn in 2022 | Your Ultimate Survival Life Hacks Guide
Natural Disasters12 months ago
Flood Survival Tips | How To Survive Before, During, And After A Flood
Fishing, Hunting, & Trapping7 months ago
Squirrel Snare | How to Make a Snare Trap Step By Step
Personal Safety8 months ago
Invasion Survival Kit | How to Survive a Home Invasion