This Cockatoo Is The First Animal Proven To Know How To Dance
Snowball the sulphur-crested, headbanging cockatoo has been dancing his way through talk shows and commercials for years, baffling scientists around the world.
He's now become the first non-human animal documented as being able to boogie to a beat.
A group of scientists filmed Snowball's reaction to two 80s classic tunes -- 'Another One Bites the Dust' by Queen, and 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun' by Cyndi Lauper -- to gauge the reaction of the 12-year-old cockie.
Joanne Jao Keehn, a cognitive neuroscientist and dancer, then analysed the footage and all the moves he performed as the music played.
She and her colleagues found the bird had at least 14 distinct dance moves, ranging from headbanging to body rolls.
He danced to three to four-second snippets and at no time was he stuck in any particular pattern, moving differently each time he heard the same track. In fact, his biggest talent seemed to be improvisation.
Scientists are confident Snowball's “remarkably diverse spontaneous movements” prove that cockatoos brains contain strong auditory-motor connections.
The authors of the study, published in Current Biology, questioned how he acquired his dance skills, as the motions didn't appear to be mimicked. While Snowball had danced to these songs before, it was only ever with his owner who -- according to the paper -- doesn't have the same range of moves.
"Another possibility is that some moves may reflect creativity," the study said.
"This would also be remarkable, as creativity in non-human animals has typically been documented in behaviours aimed at obtaining an immediate physical benefit, such as access to food or mating opportunities.
"Snowball does not dance for food or in order to mate; instead, his dancing appears to be a social behaviour used to interact with human caregivers," the paper continues.
While Snowball is not unique in the animal world, with many examples of other cockatoos making unusual movements to music, he is the first to be scientifically studied.
Snowball first flew into the spotlight back in 2007, becoming an overnight YouTube sensation after footage of him grooving to the Backstreet Boys surfaced.
That clip has now been seen close to two million times, and it was that video which got the attention of scientists and researchers.
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.
Watch this space.