Feb ’09 I was writing about Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia, and noted with contempt the writer’s notion that only human beings have a sense of rhythm. As I said at the time, “all it takes is one ‘single report’ and you got egg on your face.”
That spring I came across
an NPR story about animals groovin’. As I speculated in my February post, if any animal should have a sense of rhythm wouldn’t it be one that sings, maybe a bird? And now I see that researchers have found birds who dance. 14 species of parrots, at least. And, contra the expert Sacks quotes in his book, some elephants. They found these dancers, how? Through watching youtube videos!
Interestingly , Aniruddh Patel, the very scientist Sacks quotes categorically denying any animal the ability to shimmy to the beat, is quoted in the NPR story. “’ This is potentially scientifically very important,’” Patel says.
Follow the link and watch some birds shakin’ tail. It’s cute. And less than three minutes.