Saturday, 14 December, 2019

This headbanging cockatoo has 14 different dance moves. Science is intrigued

This headbanging cockatoo has 14 different dance moves. Science is intrigued This headbanging cockatoo has 14 different dance moves. Science is intrigued
Deanna Wagner | 10 July, 2019, 02:01

"We think the impulse to dance to music arises when certain cognitive and neural capacities come together in animal brains", Professor Patel said.

The sulphur-crested cockatoo was filmed swinging from side to side, lunging and lifting his foot as he grooved to Another One Bites The Dust and Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

A study by Adena Schachner, using YouTube clips, found that just 39 animals can dance - the majority parrots.

The study suggests Snowball may be displaying creativity in his dancing. And when she did dance with him, she'd generally just bob her head or wave her hands.

The first study showed that Snowball indeed anticipated the beat, bobbing his head and stomping his feet in time to the music. The researchers believe it has something to do with the presence of five behavioral traits.

Soon after, Snowball's owner Irena Schulz, who takes care of him at a bird sanctuary in Duncan, South Carolina, noticed he was making movements to music she hadn't seen before. Each were played three times over the course of about 23 minutes.

Researchers weren't in a position to rule out then whether or not Snowball had copied the actions of his human owners or if he may adjust his head-bops to completely different tempos.

So, the researchers studied Snowball again.

The bird knows 14 distinct dance moves including Voguing, headbanging, and body rolling. And while humans tend to dance continuously, the cockatoo boogied in bursts of around 3.69 seconds on average.

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You may Snowball from a 2007 video of the bird dancing to "Everybody" by the Backstreet Boys. "The more that he was exposed to different music, the more creative he became". Snowball, now in his early 20's, is alive and dancing. At first, they were fascinated by his ability to move to a beat, a trait previously only recorded in humans.

Generally non-human animals display creative movements with a objective, like during mating or to get food, the team said. "Spontaneity and diversity of movement to music are not uniquely human" is the title of a paper published Monday in the journal Current Biology.

Patel told Newsweek the team were surprised by the "sheer diversity" of Snowball's movements. They focused on each "dance movement" or sequence of repeated movements.

"Parrots are absolutely unbelievable in their human-like abilities and, though not related to us, are possibly the closest animal group to us in terms of musical (and other) abilities", said Robert Heinsohn, a professor in the Fenner School of Environment and Society at Australian National University, who has studied cockatoos but wasn't involved in the new research.

That study's author, Adena Schachner, watched thousands of YouTube videos in search of more dancing animals, and found only 15 species with the same abilities.

"Often people don't realize how much work it is to have a parrot, which is why so many end up in shelters".

Snowball's talent first came to light after he was taken in by the Bird Lovers Only rescue agency in SC in 2007.

Snowball got down for a Taco Bell ad. Not clear is whether this improved over time and hence how strong the relation between the music and the moves was.