This headbanging sea lion is probably a better dancer than many of the dudes I know. He also indicates a fascinating biological fact: Humans and parrots aren’t the only ones with rhythm.
The California sea lion in question, Ronan, is three years old and lives at the University of Santa Cruz. Her skills show that non-human animals can boogie, despite her dubious appreciation for the Backstreet Boys.
Scientists used a simple repeating sound to teach Ronan to keep beats by moving her body. But when they played more complex sounds, they found that Ronan was still able to find and keep the basic underlying rhythm without any additional training.
“When beat-keeping had only been seen in humans and some parrots, people thought that vocal mimicry (the ability to reproduce vocal sounds) might actually be a necessary precondition for rhythmic ability,” Ronan’s trainer Peter Cook says in the video below. “It may be that rhythmic ability is much more widespread in the animal kingdom than previously thought.”
See Ronan dancing here:
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