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Animal can dance to music!

A scientific research paper can start with a viral video on youtube. A while ago a cockatoo called Snowball was shown to dance to music.

Interesting questions were raised by this observation. Did the bird really dance to the music or did it mimic the human action? Dancing is a complex behaviour that requires coordination of auditory and motor responses. It has been predicted that the neural circuity evolved in vocal learning species. Motivated by this video, a group of scientists decide to test this out by observing how Snowball dances, and here is the quick result.

The short answer is Snowball can really dance to the music! The whole study was published in Current Biology.

Now the question is, why do animals and humans can both enjoy music? In other words, what is unique about music that can stimulate the nervous systems of different species the same way? What is the common neuro-architecture that underlies this behavior?


Patel AD, Iversen JR, Bregman MR, Schulz I. Experimental Evidence for Synchronization to a Musical Beat in a Nonhuman Animal. Curr Biol. 2009 Apr 29. [PubMed][Current Biology]

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