Dancing to the rhythm of the beat

Superb Lyrebird dancing, Dandenong Ranges National Park (photo: fir0002, flagstaffotos.com.au)

A recent Australian paper in Current Biology studies the dance moves of the Superb Lyrebird – a bird which all Australians know from our coinage:

The article shows how the lyrebirds coordinate particular dance moves with particular songs. Just as people “waltz to waltz music but salsa to salsa music, so lyrebirds step sideways with their tail spread out like a veil to one song – which sounds like a 1980s video-arcade game – while they jump and flap their wings with their tail in a mohawk position while singing a quiet ‘plinkety-plinkety-plinkety.’”

To get the message across, the abstract includes a fascinating (18MB) video presentation by lead author Anastasia Dalziell, whose undergraduate studies also combined science and music. The presentation is also available on YouTube.

Thanks to Eureka alerts for the heads-up on this extremely interesting work.


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