What can a sea-lion teach us about musicality?

Ronan the sea lion can keep the beat better than any other animal, a study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience found out more. Whether it is Mozart, Hendrix, Miles Davis, or tribal drumming, few activities feel as uniquely human as music. And, indeed, for a long time, most scientists believed that Homo sapiens was the only species capable of creating and responding to rhythm and melody. This view, however, was challenged profoundly in 2009, when a cockatoo called Snowball was shown to be an able dancer. Snowball bopping along to pop songs clearly demonstrated that non-human species had the neurobiological apparatus required to process rhythmic stimuli and move in time them. And now – following investigations that have shown that chimps, bonobos, parrots and budgerigars have similar capabilities – a…


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