Scientists discovered a species of parrot in New Zealand which has a contagious laughter. The kea parrot is known to have the avian equivalent of an infectious laugh. This parrot’s call prompts people to stop whatever they were doing and laugh together. Kea parrots live in alpine locations in New Zealand. They are well-known for being mischievous and intelligent. Locals call this species “the clown of the mountain.”
- The kea parrot is known to live in the mountains of New Zealand.
- Researchers indicate that they have a certain behavior which was only discovered in mammals up until now.
- They have a play call which appears to be a contagious laughter, triggering fun for all birds.
On March 21, researchers published a new paper in the Current Biology magazine, and it indicates that the playful reputation of this bird is not entirely anthropomorphic. Raoul Schwing, an Austrian researcher at the Messerli Research Institute in Austria, discovered that kea parrots have a play call which seems to be different from their common vocalizations. This behavior determined other parrots to be playful.
Schwing is a doctoral student in animal behavior at Auckland University. He observed that even birds which were out there by themselves started playing when they heard the play call of kea parrots. He argued that the simple fact that other birds started playing spontaneously when no other bird around indicated that, just as human laughter, this play call had an emotional effect on birds which heard it.
Suddenly, they became playful even if they were in the mountains by themselves. Raoul suggested that similar vocalizations which are emotionally contagious have also been observed in the behavior of rats and chimpanzees. However, researchers were amazed to reveal this behavior in Kea parrots which are non-mammals. Schwing noted that the play call sounded similar to a sort of contagious laughter.
The Austrian researcher has also highlighted the fact that he together with his team of researchers managed to playback some of these play calls to reveal that it will trigger Kea parrots to become playful even if they were by themselves. Schwing and his colleagues have analyzed the full vocal repertoire of kea parrots before reaching to discover their contagious laughter.
Scientists stated that they would continue to study this matter which suggests that people may not be as unique as we all like to believe. Schwing argued that if there are certain species of animals which could laugh just like we do, then it means that we are not that different from them since we all experience certain emotions.
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