Some birds can move/”dance” to music, like the cockatoo Snowball, who can “dance” to Stevie Nicks. Birds seem to have some neurological precursor to music appreciation. Snowball seem to be able to follow rhythm — sure looks like it does!!
You can get the idea by watching the first minute or two; nothing new happens after that. I wonder if this bird started the movement on its own, or was taught it. And was the person behind the camera directing it? I’d have to assume the movement/dancing is natural (not directed), as the bird is being studied by scientists.
The owner of the bird, Irena Schulz, says, in “Part Five” of “Avian Einsteins,” that the bird started dancing on its own, and will get back on beat if it follows her off beat (when she did so to see if Snowball was merely following her cues). She says Snowball can follow only a constant, regular beat; it cannot follow syncopations. Ms. Shulz also says that more research will be done on Snowball to see how he behaves to music when he is alone in a room, when she is there but supports Snowball only vocally, and when she dances with Snowball.
“Bird Lovers Only” has some links to research papers on Snowball.
“Part Two” shows the bird Alex, owned and studied by “scientist and noted bird researcher” Irene Pepperberg. “Part Three” shows some corvids (called in the video “the feathered chimpanzees;” it’s the crow family, including crows, rooks, ravens) studied by “professor of comparative cognition at Cambridge University” Nicola Clayton.
Speaking of birds, there has been research done on birds to help us understand stuttering, I don’t recall where I saw video on that, but there is some mention of such work on Scientific Blogging and Science Friday.
Update (11:30 AM): It’s fascinating how the scientific method has developed from the ancient Greeks — Hippocrates, Aristotle, Archimedes and more — through the Renaissance — Gilbert, Harvey, Galileo, Newton and more — to today.
Update (noon): That’s not to say that all moderns experiment better, just to say there are more “tools in the tool box,” and that the potential for better experimentation is there. How good someone is as an experimenter depends entirely on his/her individual premises and cognitive methods; and those things depend on choice, on acts and products of free will. Objectivity is chosen, not deterministic.