It has always been believed that humans are the only ones who can dance to a beat. However, thanks to a cockatoo named Snowball and an African Gray parrot called Alex, scientists have now discovered that certain species of birds also have an excellent sense of rhythm.
It all began in 2007, when Irene Schulz, who runs 'Bird Lovers Only Rescue Center' in Indiana,uploaded a video of Snowball, an eleven-year old cockatoo on YouTube. In the video, the sulfur-crested cockatoo was dancing and grooving to the beat of a 1997 song by the 'Backstreet Boys'.
Snowball's dancing caught the eyes of many people, including Aniruddh Patel, a scientist at San Diego's Neurosciences Center, who was so impressed that he decided to do a formal study of the dancing cockatoo. He contacted Snowball's owners, who agreed to let him analyze the bird's dance moves.
In a recent report, Aniruddh, reveals that the cockatoo does respond to the beat of the music, slowing down if the tempo slows down and vice verse. A similar study done by Harvard University, corroborates this analysis.
For his study, Professor Adena Schachner, picked an African Gray parrot named Alex, who was known to be very bright, but had never been tested with music. Sure enough, when they exposed the bird to some funky music, he too started to move in sync with the tune.
Ms. Schachner, then went one step further and analyzed over 1,000 animal dancing videos from YouTube. Her findings revealed that about 14 species of parrots can boogie to the beat. Both researchers believe that the bird's ability to groove is directly related to their ability to imitate the sounds of other individuals.
Whatever the reason, it has sure toppled the myth that humans are the only ones who can dance to a rhythm and made Snowball world-famous. The little cockatoo now has a number of videos on YouTube and even his own branded merchandise that can be bought from http://www.birdloversonly.org/.
Sources:sfgate.com, dailymail.com.uk, USAtoday.com