Cockatoo Boogies His Way Into Science

Meet the bird that bops to the Backstreet Boys.

Snowball, a sulphur-crested cockatoo, has impressed the public and scientists alike with his ability to move to the beat of his favorite song.

"It has never been documented before that there is a non-human animal that can synchronize to a human beat," said Irena Schulz, a biologist and Snowball's caretaker. Snowball is the first scientific animal proven to do that, she said.

This week, Snowball and Schulz will be featured on a panel discussion on parallels between bird and human brains at the World Science Festival.

When Schulz first noticed that Snowball could dance, she couldn't believe it.

VIDEO: A bird dances.
null

"He was sitting on my arm and I had to hold back the laughter," she said this morning on "Good Morning America."

In the YouTube universe, Snowball has become a big star. A video of Snowball rocking out to the Backstreet Boys has been viewed more than 2 million times since it was posted in 2007.

But he's more than an entertainer.

He also inspired a first-ever study on how animals "dance" to the music that was published by the journal Current Biology in late April.

Schulz said that by studying Snowball and his movement scientists can learn more about human movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease.

Snowball has plenty of company in the realm of impressive animals.

Here are 10 more animals that will blow you away.

Whistling Orangutan Releases CD

Even some humans can't do it. But Ujian, a 14-year-old ape at Germany's Heidelberg Zoo, is such an accomplished whistler, he just cut his first CD. He reportedly taught himself how to whistle last summer.

"Ich Bin Ujian" ("I Am Ujian") will go on sale at the zoo in June, Germany's Der Spiegel reported earlier this week. The fun, pop-rock song with a bit of a reggae influence, combine's Ujian's whistling with lyrics sung by Tobias Kämmerer.

The chorus includes the lines: "I am Ujian the orangutan. I am so cool, man, I'm a star."

Dog Gives Birth to 20 Puppies

Call her the Nadya Suleman of the canine world. A super-fertile Florida dog named Dixie gave birth to 20 puppies last week.

"It's been around-the-clock feedings" said Dixie's owner, Deanna Stewart. "Because she has so many, she can't do it on her own, so we're having to bottle feed just to make sure they're all rotated and everything's fine with that."

Dixie fell just short of the world record, which is 24 puppies. But her owners have their hands full.

"It's a hard job. We have to go every three hours and feed them," said Deanna's son, Braxton Stewart.

A Pachyderm Picasso

Her work isn't for sale yet, but an African elephant at a British safari park already has more than 50 paintings in her portfolio.

Five, a 16-year-old elephant at the West Midland Safari Park in Bewdley, Worcestershire, first demonstrated her penchant for painting when zookeepers left a paintbrush in her enclosure one day, the BBC reported.

She picked up the brush and appeared to be painting.

Now, when her keeper says, "paint," Five picks up the brush. And she puts it down when she is told, "Okay."

A spokeswoman for the safari park told the BBC that Five continues to paint in different colors until she appears satisfied with her masterpiece.

World's Oldest Dog

In dog years, she's at least a centenarian. In human years, Chanel, the world's oldest dog, is 21.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...