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Parrots Can Dance

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the elephants-too dept.

Music 104

juuri sends in an NPR article about the consensus created among scientists that some birds actually dance to music. "The results of this study are reported in the journal Current Biology, along with another scientific paper inspired by YouTube videos of dancing animals. Adena Schachner is a graduate student in the psychology department of Harvard University. She says she was familiar with the idea that some people had made videos of birds supposedly dancing. ... She and her colleagues eventually analyzed more than 5,000 videos. 'Imagine watching YouTube eight hours a day for a month,' she says. 'That's pretty much what we did. It was amusing for perhaps the first couple of hours.'" juuri adds, "While this makes them somewhat unique in the animal world, as only three animals are now known to dance by verifiable proofs, what struck me more was that this was the first time YouTube had helped forge a new scientific understanding. Given the explosive growth of uploading videos and people watching them, what other new understandings and popular misconceptions will be proven or disproved due to this emerging media?"

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All birds can, actually (4, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787947)

They can dance if they want to.

Re:All birds can, actually (5, Funny)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787971)

They can leave their friends behind.

Re:All birds can, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27788017)

well if they don't dance they're no friends of mine.

Re:All birds can, actually (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27788023)

'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
well they're no friends of mine.

On a related note, is it true what negroes say that white people can't dance?

Re:All birds can, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27793321)

No. The Irish [youtube.com] are white, for example.

It's just fat americans who can't dance. And that applies to fat americans of any skin color, really.

Re:All birds can, actually (1)

CheddarHead (811916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788047)

Thanks. Now that song is stuck in my head, probably for the rest of the morning.

Re:All birds can, actually (4, Funny)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788157)

You don't say "thanks" when someone infects you with a catchy song, you say "Domo Arigato, Mr Roboto"! Turn-about is fair play.

Re: Domo Arigato (2, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788309)

We are the Modern Web (secret secret)
With YRO instead (secret secret)
Housed in FBI DB's (secret secret)
That no one else can see!

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/05/01/1247258 [slashdot.org]

or, +1 Chuck Finale with mockband Jeffster!

Re:All birds can, actually (3, Funny)

cplusplus (782679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788717)

...you're no friend of mine.

Yeah.. (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788251)

Unlike blokes..

Damnit! (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787995)

Another thing parrots can do that I can't! When will this humiliation end?

Re:Damnit! (4, Funny)

linguizic (806996) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788553)

You might not be able to dance, but I'm sure you can at least parrot it.

Re:Damnit! (1)

drstock (621360) | more than 5 years ago | (#27790679)

Until a parrot can beat you at kickboxing I think you're safe.

Re:Damnit! (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27790705)

Until a parrot can beat you at kickboxing I think you're safe.

*covering over black eye* I don't wanna talk about it! *runs away in tears*

The pictured Sun Conure (2, Interesting)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788105)

I've got a Sun Conure, which happens to be the same bird in the picture in the summary. He's only 5 months old, so he's not all out dancing, but he does seem to be starting to respond to music, as he'll start to bob his head in time for a few seconds at a time. Search youtube for kimba's song, and you can see the Sun Conure groovin to a performing beatboxer.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (3, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788195)

For the love of all that is holy, do not raise that bird on disco.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788277)

For the love of all that is holy, do not raise that bird on disco.

Oh hell no, the closest my girl is getting to that is a big old disc o' punk, techno, and hard rock.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

onemorechip (816444) | more than 5 years ago | (#27793993)

Don't laugh, it's been done. There was a sketch on SNL back in the seventies, where a cockatoo was dancing to "Macho Man".

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (5, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788359)

I've got a Sun Conure, which happens to be the same bird in the picture in the summary. He's only 5 months old, so he's not all out dancing, but he does seem to be starting to respond to music, as he'll start to bob his head in time for a few seconds at a time. Search youtube for kimba's song, and you can see the Sun Conure groovin to a performing beatboxer.

I have a cockatiel and he's about eight years old. He has a little metal band around one of his feet, I guess to prove that he was domestically bred and not poached (not sure exactly). He does one thing that I've never seen another bird do, though it's not as extreme as actually dancing. If I play certain percussive music or if I drum on my desk with my fingers, he will tap that metal band against his wooden perch to either the same rhythm or the same rhythm with little variations.

Sometimes he'll do this as a sort of "Simon" game where I'm supposed to match his little drum-solo and then he tries to match mine. It never occurred to me that birds would properly dance, though this one does make displays etc that are a lot like dancing. Either way, they definitely do have the required sense of rhythm. I've kept birds for a number of years and I can say that you can guess but you never really know for certain just how smart they are, except maybe to say "probably more than you think".

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (2, Interesting)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788421)

I've kept birds for a number of years and I can say that you can guess but you never really know for certain just how smart they are, except maybe to say "probably more than you think".

Too true. At times, you may think you're training your bird, however, the reverse is true. How many times I've found myself acting like a spastic retard trying to get my brid to do something entertaining...*bows head in shame*

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788669)

I've kept birds for a number of years and I can say that you can guess but you never really know for certain just how smart they are, except maybe to say "probably more than you think".

Too true. At times, you may think you're training your bird, however, the reverse is true. How many times I've found myself acting like a spastic retard trying to get my brid to do something entertaining...*bows head in shame*

Haha yeah I know what you mean. There's definitely something special about them. I really think that if more people kept birds, then "bird-brain" would never have been considered an insult.

Common crows are incredible too. I believe they are the only non-primate that will not only use tools, but make and then use them. Crows have been known to find bits of wire and bend them into a "hook" and use that to get food, probably insects. If there is a nut they want to eat but cannot crack, they have been known to place it on a road and wait for a car to run over it and crack it for them. Of course that sounds very basic to us as humans but that kind of planning and forethought is quite rare among animals.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (5, Insightful)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789469)

You'd be amazed the degree to which dogs will plan, including practical jokes. (Speaking from 40 years as a pro dog trainer...) Anything a bright 5 year old child can conceive of, a dog can think up too. Favourites seem to be dunking the unsuspecting in any handy mud or water. I once had a Chesapeake who figured out that dumping people off rafts was a wonderful joke, resulting in lots of amusing screams... and he always waited until they were well out from shore before doing so!

As to parrots dancing, I doubt this comes as much of a surprise to most long-time owners of such birds. They are very observant and imitative, and it doesn't take much to get them responding to whatever they hear.

They also play nasty tricks... my sister's parrot hated her dog, and developed the following routine:

Parrot: Jaz, COME!
Jaz obediently comes to the parrot's cage.
Parrot: Jaz, SIT!
Jaz obediently sits.
Parrot: BAD DOG!
Jaz, familiar with his role in this comedy and apparently just indulging the parrot, wags his tail but otherwise ignores this. :)

As to animals' notion of music... I use big plastic barrels for doghouses. They are fairly resonant. Sometimes young dogs dig like madmen in them, but after a while I realised it wasn't just random futile digging -- they'd do various specific rhythms unlike what they'd do if digging a hole. Finally it occurred to me -- they are DRUMMING. They enjoy the noise for its own sake. I've also caught dogs dragging a stick along the fence to make noise, just like small kids will do.

What do you get if you offer a kindergarten a variety of "instruments"?? A wide variety of percussion and not much else. Dogs, having about the same congnitive facility as a 5 year old child, do much the same.

At a guess, parrots probably are about equivalent to a 2 year old... and what do most toddlers do as soon as they're steady on their feet? attempt SOME form of "dancing" whenever they hear music.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27790617)

As to parrots dancing, I doubt this comes as much of a surprise to most long-time owners of such birds. They are very observant and imitative, and it doesn't take much to get them responding to whatever they hear. They also play nasty tricks...

A fellow bird owner related to me that they had an ecluctus, who knew all the family names, and received much attention from the 10 year old son. The family added a cockatoo which became the son's new favorite pet. After awhile of this, the son came home from school one day, lay down on the couch and fell asleep. The ecluctus took this opportunity to climb out of his cage, run across the floor, climb up onto the couch and onto the boy. Once there he bit him on the nose (not enough to draw blood) and started saying "Bad Bird! Bad Bird!" mixing his name in with bird a few times. Just about scared the poor kid into soiling his pants...

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27791625)

That sounds about right... a fellow elsewhere related how a larger bird laid for and killed/ate a smaller one (I forget the species but of the parrot and cockatoo types) that thought to come visiting... they're devious critters, all right.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27790811)

My cat, Precious, once gave a very convincing rendition of Neil Peart's solo in the song YYZ via a cardboard box and a small stack of dishes. He looked very satellited at the end, and who could blame him!

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27792039)

What kind of parrot was it?

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27792213)

My sister's bird? I think it's an ordinary African Grey.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 5 years ago | (#27796455)

We would let the parrot out the cage and it loved to perch on the back of a couch with a wooden frame. The cat would slowly creep inch by inch up on the bird from behind. She almost got the bird the first time this happened. After the first time the bird would give no indication that it had any clue what was going on until the cat was just about to swipe with its paw.

Then splat, the bird would shit on the cat and even though it couldn't fly it could manage to flap to the back of another couch in the same room after delivering its payload.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788907)

That's pretty impressive. My only bird story is of the parakeet I had when I was young, who was smart enough to open the door of her cage from the inside. I had to keep it tied shut with a wire tie.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (3, Funny)

ratnerstar (609443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789293)

I have a cockatiel and he's about eight years old. He has a little metal band around one of his feet ...

Wow, I thought dancing was impressive, but this guy has a bird that's in a metal band!

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

MR.Mic (937158) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789485)

Judging from the videos in the article, it obviously does the vocals.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

cstepan (731228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795067)

Wow, I thought dancing was impressive, but this guy has a bird that's in a metal band!

Meet Hatebeak [blacktable.com]

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27789631)

I used to play clap callbacks with my family's lovebird. I'd clap, he'd clack his tongue, in patterns back and forth.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27797015)

my cockateil does this 'drumming' as well.

If I tap on something three times then he will drum three times as well.
If I tap twice he will do the same.
and if I stop tapping he waits patiently then starts drumming to himself.

He also has a bell that he throws around the cage with so much force it bounces everywhere and makes a huge racket.

He also does something that I have not seen any other cockateil do. He will crouch down slowly then suddenly jumpead up with his head feathers all standing up. stupid thing.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788757)

Is that Sun using SPARC or x86? Can it also predict the future?

Makes me want to get a parrot, but I don't think it would mix well with my cat.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789201)

Is that Sun using SPARC or x86? Can it also predict the future?

It can predict that if it squawks long enough and loud enough, that you're going to get it a piece of mango...

Makes me want to get a parrot, but I don't think it would mix well with my cat.

Depends on the cat. If your cat gets excited when it hears a bird, then probably not. However the bigger the bird you get, the less likely the cat is going to be to mess with it. Cockatoos can sever a cat's tail if they want to, and the cat is typically smart enough to realize that after a few supervised encounters.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (2, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789341)

Ah, the Sun Conure. Beautiful and intelligent birds. Not so great at the vocal mimicry as others, but fully equipped with an ear-piercing shriek designed to travel great distances through the thick South American rain forests which serves as their equivalent of "hi". Also, quite social and friendly, so they like to say "hi" a lot when they know you're home, though they're not quite up on human social norms enough to understand the concept of sleeping in on a Saturday.

Plus they can live for 20-40 years.

Have fun! =D

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789387)

They can sleep in on Saturday, provided thier cage is covered. Mine likes to sit on my shoulder, pick at my ears and hair while making cute little noises and crapping all over my favorite shirts.

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27793681)

They can sleep in on Saturday, provided thier cage is covered.

Well someone forgot to inform Zazu the Sun Conure of that fact. -_-

Re:The pictured Sun Conure (1)

BigFoot48 (726201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794721)

Our Sun Conure is 20 years old, and may outlive us. The one in the picture is not dancing, but rather stretching its wing. I thought this might be a habit of flightless birds (flight feathers clipped), until I saw a raven at the Grand Canyon do exactly the same thing.

Well, duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27788153)

They're from Africa and S. America aren't they?

After an exhaustive study of youtube videos. (1, Funny)

pillowcase1 (878575) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788161)

Otters can feel love.

Re:After an exhaustive study of youtube videos. (1, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788173)

The jury's still out on Boxxy.

Otter Porn! (1, Funny)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788227)

Otters can feel love.

Wait, what? I can't even find any regular porn on YouTube, but you found Otter porn?!?

Re:Otter Porn! (2, Interesting)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27791575)

Otters are the rats of the ocean. Specifically the behaviors of the males during child rearing are atrocious. An adult male will actually hold his own children hostage until the female provides food.

Frist Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27788167)

First post!

New scientific understanding (0, Offtopic)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788191)

2 girls 1 cup proved to scientists everywhere that someone, somewhere, will do *anything* for money.

Re:New scientific understanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27788533)

No, that just proves rule 34 of the internet

Re:New scientific understanding (1)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789139)

2 girls 1 cup was such a letdown after hearing all the build up about it. It was so fake looking as you can clearly tell it was just chocolate soft serve.

Re:New scientific understanding (1)

Thantik (1207112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27791803)

The producer actually verified this later on. I can't find the link. It's not that I *can't* as in it's impossible, more of a can't because if I search anything related to that topic at work, I'd probably be fired.

Re:New scientific understanding (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794311)

2 girls 1 cup was such a letdown ... It was so fake looking as you can clearly tell it was just chocolate soft serve.

Yeah, I thought so, too. But if you view it as humor aimed at young children (or parrots or dogs or monkeys maybe), it's a lot funnier. I remember a similar case when my daughter was maybe four, and I took her into a restroom somewhere. When she was done, she looked into the toilet, and I remarked "Look at all that shit!" She replied with "That's not shit; it's peanut butter!" I was proud of her. Of course, she's an adult now, so her offensive humor is a lot more sophisticated. But that was pretty good for a preschool kid. And lots of preschool teachers make friends with their kids by engaging in the same sort of humor. Peewee Herman made a film career of it. Seeing it on youtube should surprise no-one.

he is off beat (1)

goffster (1104287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788239)

And if you look at the video you can see the shadow
of the human dancing as well.

I think he was visual mimicking the human.

Clever Polly I think.

Which 3 animals? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788267)

...only three animals are now known to dance by verifiable proofs.

Which animals are those? Oregon zoo has concerts close too the elephant pens. Zoo workers their claim the elephants do dance to the music. So are the 3 animals humans, parrots, and elephants, or what?

Perhaps it was suspected that Bonobo chimps were dancing, when in fact they were merely having sex?

Re:Which 3 animals? (2, Funny)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788339)

Which animals are those? Oregon zoo has concerts close too the elephant pens. Zoo workers their claim the elephants do dance to the music. So are the 3 animals humans, parrots, and elephants, or what?

This is where reading the full article pays off. The answer is in there lazy one.

Re:Which 3 animals? (2, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788509)

Wait... you expect people to actually RTFA? You're new here, aren't you?

Reading The Fine Article confirms that my guess was correct -- it is humans, parrots, and elephants. However, I believe an elephant would be a poor choice of dance partner, because when that gray old lady steps on your feet, it is really gonna hurt!

Re:Which 3 animals? (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788605)

However, I believe an elephant would be a poor choice of dance partner, because when that gray old lady steps on your feet, it is really gonna hurt!

You just have to treat it like a mosh pit. If you go there, you have to expect to exit with an injury. Or flattened limb.

Wait... you expect people to actually RTFA? You're new here, aren't you?

Not new, just stubborn and grumpy. =D

Re:Which 3 animals? (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#27790579)

Describing it as "only three animals" is a bit misleading. The articles on the study clearly said that there were 14 species of parrot seen visibly dancing. So there must have been at least 14 animals (plus at least one elephant), not just three. In fact, there were multiple dancers in a number of the species.

We might note that the species count was somewhat limited by what the researchers could find videos of, mostly on youtube. We don't have any idea how many other parrot species might dance. But a reasonable conjecture is that dancing might be a primitive behavior in the parrot family. It'll be interesting to see if they can find evidence for or against this.

Also, I've seen videos of wild chimps engaging in what can only be called dancing. Lots of banging rocks and sticks, and moving around rhythmically to the beat. It wouldn't be too surprising if dancing were common to the group of "higher apes" that includes us humans.

There was a proposed hypothesis recently from some biologists, to the effect that dancing evolved in humans and some other animals as a mating activity do demo the dancer's physical coordination to prospective mates. The main question here is why would any animal adopt a behavior that uses up energy for no apparent benefit. But if either sex is selecting mates on the basis of their apparent coordination, this would easily explain the behavior. After all, would you rather have a klutzy mate that trips over rocks and fallen branches, or one that picks them up, turns them into a rhythm section, and dances around to the noise? Which genes would you rather pass on to your offspring?

I do wonder what the other dancing parrot species were. We have cockatiels in our house, and many 'tiel owners describe the males reacting to music with rhythmic head bobbing similar to what Snowball does on those videos. But I've never seen them do the footwork. Instead, what they do is improvise a high (descant) harmony to the music. We've had several musical gatherings at our house, with people sitting around playing music, with a male cockatiel in the midst of it all (typically sitting on a music stand), singing along. It's interesting to watch the (human) musicians' reactions as they realize that the little guy isn't just matching their rhythm; he's also singing in the same key.

The general explanation here is that female cockatiels are the kind of girl who goes off with the band members after the dance. If a male 'tiel wants a chance with the chicks, he'd better develop a large repertoire, or learn to improvise well.

Re:Which 3 animals? (1)

lenester (625236) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794187)

It wouldn't be too surprising if dancing were common to the group of "higher apes" that includes us humans.

...except that the notable absence of sound-based rhythmic coordination among other apes is exactly what led to these researchers' theory that vocal mimicry is the key: it requires the ability to match the timing of an auditory cue, which is their definition of the difference between dancing and other motive displays.

Re:Which 3 animals? (1)

memristance (1285036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27791379)

If I thought my feet were going to be stepped on, I would still pick the elephant before a woman in stilettos. [hypertextbook.com]

Re:Which 3 animals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27788379)

Birds of paradise have elaborate dances to attract mates. Can't think of the others at the moment, though.

Re:Which 3 animals? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788963)

Lots of animals have mating "dances". The scientist's criteria was "Can the animal keep a beat". The significance of the study is that apparently you have to be a natural mimic to move in time to a beat. In which case many other bird species qualify. So the unanswered question is, "Could dinosaurs dance?" (Actually, the real question is, "Why are our minds pre-wired to detect rhythms?" I don't see any evolutionary advantage conferred to animals able to move to beat, at least not before the advent of MTV and Disney.

Re:Which 3 animals? (1)

lenester (625236) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794153)

The conclusion wasn't that you have to be a mimic to match a beat, but precisely the opposite: that having time sense opens the door for mimicry. When cart and horse are properly arranged, the selective benefits become more apparent.

Oblig. Python (1)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788315)

"This parrot wouldn't dance if you put 4000 volts through it!!"

In pain? (1)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788515)

back in 2007, when she got interested in this, a famous African Grey Parrot named Alex lived at a nearby animal cognition lab. So she and her colleagues created some new music, something no bird could have heard before, and they played it for Alex.

"We were shocked, basically, when we put on these tracks and saw him bobbing his head what looked like to the beat," Schachner says.

Unfortunately, Alex died soon after.

Possibly the birds are in pain from such a terrible selection of music that they feel the urge to display shake it off gestures to show their great disgust.

Re:In pain? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789767)

Alex the parrot's sudden death was actually a pretty sad story. Besides his dancing, he had one of the largest vocabularies ever known to a non-human - not just mimicry, but a real understanding of the meaning behind his words.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_(parrot) [wikipedia.org]

My own dancing cockatoo (5, Interesting)

Scarbo27 (1150965) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788761)

I have a Bare-Eyed Cockatoo, and he dances constantly, all the while chanting "dance dance dance." He also chants "shake shake shake your booty" while dancing. I didn't try to teach him either of these things, he taught himself. Of course I taught him the words, but not on purpose, he just picked them up from me. I take him in the shower with me about once a week, and encourage him to shake off before I take him out of the shower stall by telling him to "shake your little white booty" and singing a bit of KC and the Sunshine Band. He also likes music, especially opera, and will sing along with the women, but not the men. He speaks to me with appropriate responses on a regular basis. If one of my other birds gets off its cage he will say "get back on your cage" at it. They are much smarter and aware than most people give them credit for.

Re:My own dancing cockatoo (2, Funny)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789309)

I have a Bare-Eyed Cockatoo, and he dances constantly...I take him in the shower with me about once a week, and encourage him to shake off before I take him out of the shower stall by telling him to "shake your little white booty" and singing a bit of KC and the Sunshine Band.

Bare-Eyed Cockatoos are awesome birds, but bare-assed you was hardly what I wanted an image of this early in the morning.

Re:My own dancing cockatoo (2, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789377)

Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.

Re:My own dancing cockatoo (1)

KMnO4 (684253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27790563)

you got video?

Videos? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27792923)

Dude, post some videos (not you in the shower though).

Re:My own dancing cockatoo (1)

LukeWebber (117950) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794335)

Dude, your cockatoo is gay. And you sing K C and the Sunshine Band in the shower, from which I'll let you draw your own conclusion. Not condemning it mind you, but just a heads-up.

Living in Australia, I can pretty much assure you that most male parrots are gay, and just fake it with the babes. That's the only explanation for the plumage, the dancing and the shrieking.

Muhahaha! (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27788781)

The 1st phase of my evil psychological experiments are complete!

Little do those fools know the expirement wasn't about birds dancing, but rather in getting someone to watch youTube for 8 hours a day for a month straight.

The next phase I will take them to a "magical" island and tell them to hit a button every 108 minutes or the world will end and see if they do that shit...

Muhahaha!

Psychology researchers are masters of the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27788883)

...or just horribly wrong.

Either way, after I saw this video [youtube.com] of a cockatiel whistling the Chocobo Song, I pretty much accepted that birds are musically inclined.

Re:Psychology researchers are masters of the obvio (2, Interesting)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789585)

My wife's parrot can whistle "The Happy Wanderer." As a matter of fact, he'll whistle it continuosly until you are ready to strangle him.

Parrots are like a three year old child in a lot of ways, including repeating a good thing ad infinitum.

Re:Psychology researchers are masters of the obvio (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27790683)

Search youtube for "singing amazon", then scroll down until you see something like "kluklukan" in the title. Not much to see in the video, but it's a distinctive amazon voice, and the bird sings "Old McDonald", "Over the Rainbow" and a few others, albeit off-key. It's hilarious the first few times, but then you begin to wonder how the owner retains any sense of sanity...

Re:Psychology researchers are masters of the obvio (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27792095)

The same way most Amazon owners (my wife's bird is a Double Yellowhead) do--they drink a lot.

Re:Psychology researchers are masters of the obvio (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794005)

I used to have a bird that would ring. His cage was near the phone and he could ring just like the phone. So it because a great joke for him to ring and make me get up to answer the phone.

Re:Psychology researchers are masters of the obvio (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795347)

There's a guy up the road from us whose cockatoo answers the phone - when the phone rings, the bird screeches back in the exact same cadence.

Phone: ring ring <pause> ring ring <pause> ring ring
Cocky: screech screech
Phone: ring ring
Cocky screech screech

The same animal echoes the barks of neighbourhood dogs in the same manner. This might not be mimicry in pitch or timbre, but in timing it's spot on!

Youtube.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27788937)

Anthropology experiment.

They watched thousands of videos? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27789099)

It took their watching thousands of videos to discover that yeah, parrots can indeed dance?

That reminds me of an extensive study of canine behavior where it was discovered that yes, dogs can and do laugh. The thing is, dog owners could have probably told you that hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Anyone who is halfway observant and who has played with a dog probably figured that out without an expensive study.

What's next: an expensive study to determine whether or not mccaws and african greys can associate words with concepts?

I have a better one: I'd like to see a government-funded study to determine whether or not rain is actually composed of water, and if so, is it actually wet. Until a study is done which is either wholly or partially funded by federal funds. I shall believe that rain is in fact not wet.

Is reminded of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27789251)

That Telus commercial with the dancing parrots.

Animism On the Dance Floor (2, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789343)

On behalf of the rest of the animal world:

"only three animals are now known to dance by verifiable proofs"

Including humans? They are animals you know.

The assertion is made due to tests designed and carried out by humans using criteria based on human standards. In species specific behavior, humans can't possibly know when those species are dancing according to their own standards, or for that matter when they're doing something they'd consider to be other than dancing but fits the human criteria as a false positive.

Another species might well classify most if not all of human dancing as pre-mating ritual, as do some humans. And why not both, escaping from species-specific standards? This would make mating ritual to be dance in thousands of species.

Of course, like many recent articles, they have to make YouTude into some sort of oracle with the material qualitatively different, in order to make it more relevant. It's not. It's just easier than collecting data on your own.

Re:Animism On the Dance Floor (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27790761)

humans can't possibly know when those species are dancing according to their own standards, or for that matter when they're doing something they'd consider to be other than dancing but fits the human criteria as a false positive.

The word "dance" is a human word, it means whatever humans want it to. Thus it doesn't matter what another species "thinks" - if we say they are dancing, then they are dancing.

Re:Animism On the Dance Floor (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27790905)

The word "dance" is a human word, it means whatever humans want it to. Thus it doesn't matter what another species "thinks" - if we say they are dancing, then they are dancing.

Hmmm, I think I'll use that excuse the next time someone complains that I look like disjointed weedwacker.

Re:Animism On the Dance Floor (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27794611)

humans can't possibly know when those species are dancing according to their own standards, or for that matter when they're doing something they'd consider to be other than dancing but fits the human criteria as a false positive.

The word "dance" is a human word, it means whatever humans want it to. Thus it doesn't matter what another species "thinks" - if we say they are dancing, then they are dancing.

Well the. It doesn't matter what you think. If I say something, that's what it is. Thus, I'm always right and you're always wrong. Did I get it right?

Actually, that's the sort of arrogant attitude that's been used throughout the centuries for one group to enforce its classification and thought systems on others, by marginalizing and dehumanizing them. I'm not saying you're that way, because I don't know you. But I recognize the attitude as an echo of the many things I've read with regards to warfare and colonization.

Sure, "dance" is a human word. Being a "word" it absolutely must be. That doesn't mean other species don't have a congruent concept.

Re:Animism On the Dance Floor (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795957)

Well the. It doesn't matter what you think. If I say something, that's what it is. Thus, I'm always right and you're always wrong. Did I get it right?

Not by a long shot.

Disneyland, duh! (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27789635)

I knew birds could dance from the Enchanted Tiki Room. Hadn't these "scientists" ever been to Disneyland.

Be kind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27789693)

Don't tell Woz.

1980 called... (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27790665)

Given the explosive growth of uploading videos and people watching them, what other new understandings and popular misconceptions will be proven or disproved due to this emerging media?

.. they want their "emerging media" back.

Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (1)

Dreben (220413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27791259)

One of the most spiritually uplifting documentaries I have ever seen, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, by Judy Irving, shows in great hilarity one of the films stars, Connor, a Red Crown Conure, dancing to the music of Mark Bitner, the main character and un-official steward of Telegraph Hill's wild parrot population. An absolute must see film, at least if you like movies that leave you feeling good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBDqwkgjW6g [youtube.com]

http://www.wildparrotsfilm.com/ [wildparrotsfilm.com]

n/a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27791413)

what struck me more was that this was the first time YouTube had helped forge a new scientific understanding. Given the explosive growth of uploading videos and people watching them, what other new understandings and popular misconceptions will be proven or disproved due to this emerging media?

I think that was it. Many generations from now this will still be YouTube's only contribution to society. Sorry.

Self-selecting data? (1)

jdreyer (121294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27791683)

Er, if a gazillion youtube users were to film molecules exhibiting brownian motion, and if those users were to post the tiny fraction of that video that is amusing, I'll bet those molecules could be "scientifically proven" to dance too.

In Further News Today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27791985)

A Lorry has smashed into a bollard on the Kings road today. That is, a Bollard, and not a Parrot...

Other findings on utube (1)

Chuckles08 (1277062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27792237)

The question was asked about other possible new understandings being brought to light via new media. What about magnetic motors? Supposedly impossible according to current physics theory, does this guy's evidence (scattered over a number of utube postings) spur more research? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyAX9corOuQ&feature=channel_page [youtube.com]

Canaries (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27792303)

My Canary used to love Pink Floyd music and would dance and sing like crazy together with them. Obviously birds sing because they like doing it.

Nothing New (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27792365)

5 Years ago I was a petshop, and they had a little parrot they took care of and was not for sale.

When anyone hummed the "Addam's Family" tune, the bird will start moving side-to-side and nod its head to the beat. It had been trained to do this for years.

Other misconceptions... (1)

jemenake (595948) | more than 5 years ago | (#27792407)

Given the explosive growth of uploading videos and people watching them, what other new understandings and popular misconceptions will be proven or disproved due to this emerging media?

Umm... that it's safe to launch bottle-rockets from your ass?

A vital question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27792945)

Can dances parrot?

Someone didn't know this? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 5 years ago | (#27796425)

Really? Parrots dance all the time, any parrot owner could tell you this. They not only dance but they sing and I don't mean the words to the song either. They will get very excited if they like the music and make all sorts of racket to the beat.

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