Marching order

Do animals dance? Japanese scientists believe so, at least for rats, and they have proof.

Hirokazu Takahashi, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo, had led a research team in detecting rat response to music using miniature sensors that can pick up tiny movements of the rodent.

They found that rats synchronized their moves to the beat of classical music like Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K.448 and pop rock songs like “Born This Way” of Lady Gaga and “Another One Bites the Dust” of Queen.

“Rats’ brains are designed to respond well to music, even though their bodies move only a little,” Takahashi said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Their findings were recently published in the Science Advances journal.

Some animals’ synchronous move, however, can’t exactly be defined as dancing, like the unusual sheep activity at a livestock farm in China’s Inner Mongolia.

A CCTV footage of the baffling walk by the flock from 4 to 16 November went viral on social media after it was tweeted by People’s Daily. The sheeps’ owner, Ms. Miao, said she was as puzzled as netizens about the animals’ behavior.

Matt Bell, a professor and director at the Department of Agriculture at Hartpury University, in Gloucester, England, told Newsweek that the sheep were in herd mode of expressing frustration from being contained in a pen for long periods, NDTV reported.

Another speculation was that the sheep might have caught a bacterial disease called Listeriosis which make animals disoriented or, worse, cause them to die within 48 hours of infection, New York Post reported.

Why the huge flock of sheep from only one of 34 pens in the farm was walking clockwise in a nearly perfect circle for 12 straight days is anybody’s guess.


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