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Amazing Dancing Cockatoo - Snowball

Amazing Dancing Cockatoo

His musical taste may be more than a little questionable.

But as Snowball bobs, shakes and taps his feet along to American boyband The Backstreet Boys, his talent as a dancer is without doubt.

The dancing cockatoo was yesterday hailed by scientists as proof that humans aren't the only creatures with a sense of rhythm.

Adena Schachner studied Snowball along with hundreds of other birds for a Phd in psychology at Harvard University.

'These birds' movements were more lined up with the musical beat than we'd expect by chance,' she said. 'We found strong evidence that they were synchronising with the beat, something that has not been seen before in other species.'

Along with colleagues, she searched the internet site Youtube for videos of animals dancing to music - including parrots, dogs and cats.

She studied each video frame by frame, comparing the speed of the music and the movements of the creatures. Suspect videos - where the music appeared to have been added afterwards - were ignored, as were videos where an animal could have been following movements offscreen.

From more than 1,000 videos, they found evidence that 14 species of parrot and one species of elephant can move in time to music. Chimpanzees, dogs and cats appeared to have no sense of rhythm. The findings are published in the journal Current Biology.

'For a long time, people have thought that the ability to move to a beat was unique to humans,' added Dr Schachner.

'After all, there is no convincing evidence that our closest relatives, chimpanzees and other apes, can keep a beat, and there is similarly no evidence that our pet dogs and cats can line up their actions with a musical beat.'

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Added by admin May 9, 2009 (10:15PM)

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