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Research: Birds can dance to music

SAN DIEGO, May 1 (UPI) -- Two U.S. studies suggest parrots and other species of bird can keep rhythm with musical beats.

Dr. Aniruddh Patel, a researcher at The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego and lead author of one of the studies, said he and his team performed experiments with a cockatoo that moves to music, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

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"We've discovered a cockatoo named Snowball that dances to the beat of human music," he said. "Using a controlled experiment, we've shown that if the music speeds up or slows down across a wide range, he adjusts the tempo of his dancing to stay synchronized to the beat."

Patel said scientists previously believed moving to a beat was an exclusive human trait. However, he said, his research indicates that birds and other mimicking species including elephants and dolphins may be able to learn rhythmic dancing.

Adena Schachner of Harvard University, lead author of the second study, said her team analyzed more than 1,000 YouTube videos of dancing animals and identified 14 species of parrot and one species of elephant that showed evidence of moving along to the music without trickery on the part of those filming the videos.

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

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