So remember that viral dancing Cockatoo from a decade ago busting moves to Backstreet Boys?
So scientists decided to study his moves and determined that that spontaneous dance isn’t a human invention, but rather something that occurs when certain cognitive and neural capacities align in animal brains, the researchers said.
Aniruddh Patel, a professor of psychology at Tufts University in Massachusetts, published a study in 2009 on Snowball the dancing Cockatoo in the journal Current Biology, “showing he spontaneously synchronized his movements to the beat of music, something seen in every human culture but which had never been observed in a nonhuman animal.”
But then, Snowball surprised the researchers again. “After that study, we noticed him doing new movements to music that we hadn’t seen before,” Patel said. Snowball wasn’t copying anything he saw his owner do…he was making up his own moves! They filmed him again using different songs, the classic ’80s hits: “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper. The team played each song three times, for a total of 23 minutes of music overall. “He didn’t just stomp his feet or bob his head (both movements that have other purposes and are easily adapted to dancing) but created new moves with other body parts…”