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Parrot performs 16 dance moves, scientists say
The recent study suggests there are five distinct capacities that form key evolutionary prerequisites for dancing to music. (Stock photo)
Snowball appears to have invented some of his own moves 

A parrot in the US can perform 16 distinct dance moves, some of which he appears to have invented himself, according to a new study.

The research, published in Current Biology, suggests that, like humans, parrots can respond to music using a wide variety of movements and body parts.

Over 10 years ago, researchers at Tufts University studied Snowball, a sulphur-crested cockatoo, bobbing his head to the beat of a Backstreet Boys song. This suggested that parrots, unlike most species, have the cognitive ability to anticipate a beat and move to it.

In the latest study, researchers found that Snowball can perform 16 different dance moves, none of which he has been trained to do. His dancing developed through social interaction with people and he appears to have made up some of the moves, as his owner Irene Schulz, a co-author on the study, does not make these moves when she dances with him.

Tufts researchers say that dancing to music is not just an arbitrary product of human culture.

Psychology professor Aniruddh Patel said: “It’s a response to music that arises when certain cognitive and neural capacities come together in animal brains.”

The recent study suggests there are five distinct capacities that form key evolutionary prerequisites for dancing to music.

“We think this helps explain why so few species - and no other primates - share our impulse to move to music in spontaneous and diverse ways,” he added.

Now the team hope to find out whether parrots - like humans - prefer to dance with another of their kind rather than alone.

 

 

Video by Bird Lovers Only Rescue Service

Image (c) Irena Schulz

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Veterinary Evidence Student Awards winners revealed

News Story 1
 The first winners of the RCVS Knowledge Veterinary Evidence Student Awards have been revealed.

Molly Vasanthakumar scooped first prize for her knowledge summary comparing the ecological impact of woven versus disposable drapes. She found that there is not enough evidence that disposable synthetics reduce the risk of surgical site.

Second prize went to Honoria Brown of the University of Cambridge, for her paper: ‘Can hoof wall temperature and digital pulse pressure be used as sensitive non-invasive diagnostic indicators of acute laminitis onset?’

Edinburgh’s Jacqueline Oi Ping Tong won third prize for critically appraising the evidence for whether a daily probiotic improved clinical outcomes in dogs with idiopathic diarrhoea. The papers have all achieved publication in RCVS Knowledge’s peer-reviewed journal, Veterinary Evidence.  

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Animal Welfare Foundation seeks new trustees

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) seeks three new trustees to help drive the charity’s mission to improve animal welfare through veterinary science, education and debate.

Veterinary and animal welfare professionals from across the UK may apply, particularly those with experience in equine and small animal practice and research management. Trustees must attend at least two meetings a year, as well as the annual AWF Discussion Forum in London.

For more information about the role, visit www.animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk. Applications close at midnight on 13 August 2019.