Chimpanzees love dancing, say researchers

Who knew that chimpanzees love to dance? They also like to clap along to music, and nod their head, tap their feet and move in time with the rhythm. A new study shows that chimpanzees could appreciate music. The researchers are from Kyoto University in Japan. They say their study could help us understand how early humans developed an interest in music. Researchers Dr Yuko Hattori and professor Masaki Tomonaga conducted tests on seven chimps. They played the apes six two-minute songs on a piano for six days. The researchers said the chimps had a definite sense of rhythm and it changed their mood. The male chimpanzees seemed to respond to the melodies more than the females.

The researchers wrote that chimpanzees could have passed on a liking for music and dance to early humans millions of years ago. This could have happened via a common ancestor around six million years ago. The researchers said the study suggested that our love of dancing was deep inside the earliest humans. Dr Hattori said: "Chimpanzees dance to some extent in the same way as humans." She added: "In humans, listening to music causes rhythmic movement, suggesting a close connection between the auditory and motor areas in the brain." She believes the research could shed light on the evolution of dancing in humans and why we love melody and rhythm so much.