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Sea Lions Can Dance, Study Shows (video)

A California sea lion is groovin’ to the beat, bobbing her head in time with the music. It’s the first empirical evidence of an animal incapable of vocal mimicry that can keep the beat, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The three-year-old sea lion, named Ronan, demonstrated her abilities in six individual experiments led by doctoral candidate Peter Cook at the Long Marine Lab at UCSC. Ronan’s skills showed improvement through the progression of experiments and was able to successfully keep the beat in a follow-up test held weeks later.

Study authors suggest their findings challenge current scientific theories that an animal’s ability to synchronize its movements with sound are associated with the same brain mechanisms that allow for vocal mimicry in humans and some birds such as cockatoos, parrots, and budgerigars.

The findings were published online April 1 in APA’s Journal of Comparative Psychology.


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Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis and Catch That Look: Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. She is a freelance writer and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo


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7:29AM PST on Nov 28, 2013


8:05AM PDT on Jun 26, 2013

thank you for sharing 26/6

4:44AM PDT on Jun 2, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

9:20PM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

I am outraged! Ronan should be free.

5:02PM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

She is a prisoner, in a cage. She dances for treats. This is a horrible situation for this beautiful creature.

11:30AM PDT on Apr 14, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

11:49AM PDT on Apr 12, 2013

it is wrong to have this animals captured, morons

2:29PM PDT on Apr 7, 2013


5:21AM PDT on Apr 7, 2013

Animals are indeed clever on many levels.

3:49PM PDT on Apr 5, 2013

What a shame. I would like to see this sea lion in the wild.

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