Shake your tail feather: Study finds cockatoos love to dance | News | DW | 09.07.2019
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Shake your tail feather: Study finds cockatoos love to dance

Snowball, a sulphur-crested cockatoo, has shown that humans are not the only creatures who love to dance, a study found. Snowball has a diverse repertoire of 14 unique dance moves and loves to bop to a good beat.

A dancing cockatoo who rose to fame on Youtube has shown that spontaneous and diverse dance moves are not unique to humans, according to a scientific study published on Monday.

Snowball, a sulphur-crested cockatoo, moves spontaneously to music with a good beat and has expressed distinct dance moves, including headbangs, foot-lifts, shimmies and body rolls.

Read more: The science of migratory birds

"Spontaneous movement to music occurs in every human culture and is a foundation of dance," the study, published in Current Biology, said.

Such movement "occurs in parrots, perhaps because they (like humans, and unlike monkeys) are vocal learners whose brains contain strong auditory-motor connections," which gives sophisticated processing abilities, the researchers said.

Dance may demonstrate 'creativity'

Snowball first came to fame on YouTube a decade ago after a video of him dancing to the Backstreet Boys' "Everybody" was uploaded.

Since then he has boogied to songs such as Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust."

Analysis of the videos revealed that Snowball had a diverse repertoire of 14 dance movements and two composite movements. This behavior "could be a sign of creativity," the study found.

"This shows for the first time that another species truly dances to human music, spontaneously and without training, just based on its own development and social interaction with humans," the study's senior author, Aniruddh Patel, a psychologist at Tufts University and Harvard University, told French news agency AFP.

An earlier study by Patel in the same journal confirmed Snowball could bop along to the beat, but at the time, his moves consisted of head bobbing and lifting his feet, actions that have long been associated with courtship.

law/rc (AFP, dpa)

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