Ronan, a 3-year-old sea lion, demonstrated her ability to bob to the beat in six experiments led by doctoral candidate Peter Cook at the Long Marine Lab at University of California at Santa Cruz. The findings were published online April 1 in APA’s Journal of Comparative Psychology.
“Dancing is universal among humans, and until recently, it was thought to be unique to humans as well,” says Cook.
According to the researchers, Ronan’s first musical “dance” lesson was to the tune of a simplified section of John Fogerty’s “Down on the Corner”. Once Ronan was trained to bob her head to music, the researchers tested her with two pop songs, “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys, and “Boogie Wonderland” by Earth, Wind and Fire. Without any prior exposure to the songs, Ronan was able to bob to the beat of both songs over the course of multiple trials, according to the study.
NBC news reports that Ronan was born in the wild in 2008, but apparently wasn’t suited for life in the wild. Rescuers had to save her from being stranded three times — and after the third time, she was taken into captivity. In 2010, she joined UC-Santa Cruz’s Pinniped Cognition and Sensory Systems Laboratory and took part in control studies focusing on the effects of a natural neurotoxin produced by algae on the California coast.
Check out Ronan’s Moves below!
Image Source: Flickr