AND YOUR BIRD CAN DRUM

These birds play homemade drums, a first for a non-human species

It turns out humans are not the only species that know how to make instruments to play rhythmic drumming. Palm cockatoos have mastered that skill as well. And they do it to woo females.

A team of scientists from the Australian National University, the University of Queensland and Deakin University are studying these birds to understand the evolution of music. They say that this behavior is remarkable because tool manufacture among nonhuman species is incredibly rare. And most of the tools that are created are to solve practical problems, not create sound. This is the first time scientists have observed this behavior by a non-human species.

In the case of palm cockatoos, they trim tree branches into a short drumstick, or modify the shape of a hard seedpod, and then bang the instrument against a tree. Scientists studied 18 wild male palm cockatoos and analyzed their drumming sequences. They found that just like humans, these cockatoos like to use regular beats, and repeat musical phrases. They even have individual styles.

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