The animal kingdom is abuzz this week as word continues to spread about the mad skills of a dirty dancing seal named Ronan. Ronan is the resident sea lion at the Pinniped Cognition and Sensory Systems Laboratory at UC Santa Cruz, a laboratory that studies the sensory and cognitive abilities of marine animals. The seal is making quite the splash after becoming the first non-human mammal able to recognize the beat and bob her head to the rhythm of any song.
The YouTube video “Beat Keeping in a California Sea Lion” captures the extraordinary accomplishment of beat-keeping which, previous to Ronan’s training, was only seen in humans, parrots and related bird species. Researchers began training Ronan by having her bob her head in time with a metronome, and over time, found that she was able to recognize and jive with the beats of different songs. I mean hell, she appears to have better rhythm than 80 percent of my family members. So dust off your dancing shoes and hit the town, because if a sweet seal can keep a beat, I firmly believe you can too.
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