Why scientists are studying the way parrots dance

Blue and yellow macaw.
(Image credit: YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Birds are no strangers to dancing: For many species, dancing is a crucial part of attracting a mate. But dancing just for pleasure is a different story. And there's one bird in particular who knows it best.

Snowball, a sulphur-crested cockatoo, is one of the internet's favorite dancing creatures — and as it turns out, he's a choreographer as well. While many different animal species can dance, humans and parrots seem to be the only ones that invent "a diverse array of new movements," Gizmodo explained. Snowball's dances were analyzed as part of a new study published in the journal Current Biology on Monday, which concluded that parrots and humans have this one important thing in common.

Snowball displayed a total of 14 distinct dance moves, including head-banging and even something that could (generously) be described as voguing. These behaviors are a sign of not just intelligence, but also "complex social behavior," the study's authors said.

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"Parrots are unique," said R. Joanne Jao Keehn, the study's lead author. And they could help us discover just why music moves us — human and parrot alike — to dance.

Read more about this study at Gizmodo, or watch Snowball's sweet moves below. Shivani Ishwar

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