Rhythmic sea lions–what’s a scientist to do?

Here’s a piece that caught my attention this morning.  A Santa Cruz researcher trained a young sea lion to keep a musical beat which, evidently, is considered a breakthrough discovery.  Here’s the video:

What really surprised (and confused) me was the young man’s assertion that to date, scientists have maintained that mammals are incapable of keeping a beat, that it’s an ability specific to humans and some birds capable of vocal mimicry.

Huh?  Don’t they watch Youtube?

Here’s a dog tapping his foot to some rock music:

And here’s a golden retriever grooving to a jazz beat:

Honestly, scientists can be so brilliant and yet so clueless sometimes.  Especially where animals are concerned.  Of course their position is an incredibly difficult one considering what they have to do to these little companions on a daily basis to produce all the miracles we demand of them.  I imagine if it was me doing the experimenting that I’d have to deny any of them were intelligent, sentient beings capable of love and suffering, too.

Sigh.

As always, I continue hoping for a shift in paradigm on this one.  And it may be coming.

NEXT POST: The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness–a group of leading neuroscientists announces that many animals are indeed conscious beings capable of experiencing stimuli the way that humans do.

copyright Dia Osborn 2013

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