Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dancing Cockatoos: Overanalyzing YouTube Nonsense

There may not be any animals fighting here, but why pigeonhole ourselves? Besides, it's a beautiful Sunday, it's your fault you're on the internet.

According to youtube, cockatoos love to dance. There are days when it seems like every other video is a cockatoo boogying its face off, and damn if I couldn't spend hours watching them do that. It's an awful shame they're usually dancing to the Backstreet boys or something similarly terrible, but then again the sorts of people who make pet birds dance might not have the best taste in music.

Wait! Who's that, lurking in the shadows? It looks like... oh no! It's Wired Magazine, coming to ruin our fun! Curse you wired, with your reasoned, objective analysis!

I suspect that in most cases, while the video is being shot, but outside the picture, the bird's owner is dancing along with the bird, and encouraging it. Being very social, interactive, and intelligent, they also quickly notice what kind of behavior gets them attention and repeat it. So it would be easy to train a cockatoo to dance without ever consciously trying to.

While it doesn't seem that there's a bulletproof conclusion, it looks like cockatoos might not actually be genetically endowed with wicked flow. This should be the sort or thing that could be solved with a cockatoo, the scientific method and a Backstreet Boys CD, but by the time they throw all that through an IRB I don't think anyone will care anymore. Alas! Here are some more videos if you'd like. This one actually has some great music that I took the time to look for afterwards.

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