Watch dancing, head-banging cockatoo bust out its repertoire of rock moves

Watch dancing, head-banging cockatoo bust out its repertoire of rock moves

All told, the video captured Snowball completing 14 dance movements and two composite movements.

A scientific study says a dancing cockatoo, which found fame online, shows that spontaneous and diverse dance moves are not unique to humans. These included "head-banging", a "body roll" and what researchers dubbed "Vogue", where the cockatoo moves his head from one side of his lifted foot to the other. "Snowball does not dance for food or in order to mate; instead, his dancing appears to be a social behavior used to interact with human caregivers (his surrogate flock)". "The fact that we see this in another animal suggests that if you have a brain with certain cognitive and neural capacities, you are predisposed to dance", he added.

"He seemed to be experimenting with new moves, and so we made a decision to try and study that properly because that was the second interesting parallel to humans". "There's the tendency to form long-term social bonds, because Snowball seems to do this as a social bonding behavior", Patel explained to The Washington Post.

Snowball the sulphur-crested, headbanging cockatoo has been dancing his way through talk shows and commercials for years, baffling scientists around the world.

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The first study showed that Snowball indeed anticipated the beat, bobbing his head and stomping his feet in time to the music. Another question remains; whether the cockatoo picked up his moves by mimicking humans-even though their bodies differ greatly from his own-or by creating them himself.

In theirlatest study, published today in the journal Current Biology, the researchers focussedon the spontaneity and diversity of the movements Snowball makes to music.

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The researchers are now reportedly exposing Snowball to "Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol to see if he too dances like there is no one in the room.

"What's most interesting to us is the sheer diversity of his movements to music", said senior author Aniruddh Patel, a psychologist at Tufts University and Harvard University, noting that Snowball developed the elaborate moves without training. The team played each song three times, for a total of 23 minutes of music overall. "There are examples of other parrots making diverse movements to music on the internet, but Snowball is the first to be studied scientifically in this regard", Patel said. At the time, Snowball had only previously danced to the songs with his owner.

"People are fine listening to music on their own, but when it comes to dancing, people want to do that with friends rather than put music on in their living room and dance by themselves", Patel said.

"We don't know for sure which of Snowball's movements are imitations of human dance movements and which are the products of his own creation", Professor Patel said.
It's a dancing cockatoo!

The examine follows a 2009 paper that discovered a head-bobbing Snowball possessed a sophisticated musical beat perception in comparison with different animals that synchronize rhythms for mating functions, like frogs or crickets.

She added that, cognitively, moving from imitation to creativity wasn't that hard.

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