Sea Lions Can Keep A Beat

Sea Lions Can Keep A Beat

A California sea lion named Ronan was the first non-human mammal who proved that she could keep a beat, bobbing in time along with music played by her trainers. Before she came along, humans and parrots were the only animals that seemed to have this special sense of rhythm, leading scientists to believe that beat-keeping was tied to vocal mimicry. But because sea lions aren't known to mimic sounds, researchers are reconsidering this theory. (It's worth noting that Ronan also seemed to be a better beat-keeper than most birds.)

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Before Ronan the sea lion proved that she could keep a beat, parrots and related birds were the only animals that had demonstrated the ability. (0:13)

  • 2

    Ronan the sea lion first learned to bob along in sync with simple sounds, similar to those from a metronome. (0:57)

  • 3

    Before Ronan the sea lion was trained, some researchers thought that keeping a beat was tied to vocal mimicry in animals. (1:45)

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