Ronan, a California sea lion with a knack for keeping a beat, challenges theories about the nature of rhythmic ability.
If you're like most people, the last time you threw a dance party you invited only humans, cockatoos, parrots, and parakeets.
Which makes perfect sense, because the only animals capable of keeping a beat, as far as anyone knew, were mimicking birds and (some) humans.
But new research suggests that for your next interspecies soirée, you might need to fill a kiddie pool and stock your fridge with herring, because it turns out that sea lions may also show a sense of rhythm.
Researchers at the Pinniped Cognition & Sensory Systems Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz's Long Marine Laboratory, trained Ronan, a 4-year-old California sea lion, to bob her head in time with music. It is the first time a nonhuman mammal has been observed keeping a beat.