A Sea Lion in Boogie Wonderland

Lion de mer Amnéville 01Back in June of 2010, my colleague and fellow blogger, Isobel, wrote a post on “Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo, YouTube and Scientific Discovery.” It featured a popular YouTube video of Snowball the sulfur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) dancing to the Backstreet Boys. Besides being adorable, and the kind of video you can’t watch without getting a big dumb grin on your face, it was notable because Snowball was ably exhibiting a behavior previously thought unique to humans: the ability to keep, and move in time with, a musical beat.

Well, it’s time to move (groove?) on over, Snowball, and make room for a new beat-keeping star. Ronan’s in town. Continue reading “A Sea Lion in Boogie Wonderland”

Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo, YouTube and Scientific Discovery

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.orgThis is probably old news for neuroscientists and YouTube regulars, but it was news to me. I thought I would write a post about it, in case, like me, you are not one of the 4 million or so who have already seen the video of Snowball, the dancing Cockatoo, or heard about how he inspired neuroscientist Aniruddh Patel to investigate the basis of his unusual talent and discover a unique connection between human brains and bird brains.

In a NY times feature published last week (1), Dr. Patel describes how his curiosity was piqued when a friend showed him Snowball’s famous YouTube video. He was amazed because the bird was exhibiting a behavior thought to be unique to humans–the ability to move in time with a beat.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7IZmRnAo6s&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0] Continue reading “Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo, YouTube and Scientific Discovery”