Watching Snowball the cockatoo dance to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” has long been one of the joys of the internet.
The four-minute video has been viewed more than seven million times, and it’s probably generated at least that many grins. But when a small group of scientists first saw it a decade ago, they knew that it was more than entertaining. If it was real, it offered the first genuine support for a claim Darwin had made 148 years ago, but never proven: that animals perceived and enjoyed music as much as we did.
They wagered an expensive bottle of Spanish wine on whether it was legitimate, and shared that wine several years later when they were finally convinced it was real.
Now, the team has published their findings in the journal Current Biology, showing that Snowball can not only groove to music without explicit training, but he’s got his own dance moves.