Dance-like Behaviour in Chimpanzees Linked with Human Evolution: Study

Human dancing skills evolved from chimpanzees

Chimpanzees
Scientists have found that a duo dance-like behaviour in chimpanzees is linked with human evolution. Pixabay

Researchers have found two chimpanzees performed a duo dance-like behaviour, similar to a human conga-line.

According to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers found the levels of motoric coordination, synchrony and rhythm between the two female chimpanzees housed in a zoo in the US, matched the levels shown by orchestra players performing the same musical piece.

Other species have been shown to be able to entertain by moving to the pace of a rhythmic tempo by an external stimulus and solo individuals, however, this is the first time it hasn’t been triggered by nonhuman partners or signals, the study said.

“Dance is an icon of human expression. Despite astounding diversity around the world’s cultures and dazzling abundance of reminiscent animal systems, the evolution of dance in the human clade remains obscure, said Adriano Lameira, from the University of Warwick in the US.

Chimpanzees human evolution
This behaviour in chimpanzees forces scientists interested in the evolution of human dance to consider new conditions. Pixabay

Dance requires individuals to interactively synchronize their whole-body tempo to their partner’s, with near-perfect precision, this explains why no dance forms were present amongst nonhuman primates,” Lameira said.

According to the researchers, critically, this is evidence for conjoined full-body rhythmic entrainment in great apes that could help reconstruct possible proto-stages of human dance is still lacking.

Although the newly described behaviour probably represents a new form a stereotypy in captivity in this great ape species, the behaviour forces scientists interested in the evolution of human dance to consider new conditions that may have catalysed the emergence of one of human’s most exuberant and richest forms of expression.

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The researchers report an endogenously-effected case of ritualised dance-like behaviour between two captive chimpanzees – synchronized bipedalism.

By studying videos they revealed that synchronisation between individuals was non-random, predictable, phase concordant, maintained with instantaneous centi-second precision and jointly regulated, with individuals also taking turns as ‘pace-makers’, said the researchers. (IANS)

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