Dancing Sea Lion Is A Breakthrough For Science, Cuteness

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Dancing Sea Lion's Got Serious Rhythm, Is Scientific Breakthrough

  • 04/02/2013 01:06 PM EDT

A seal named Ronan dancing to The Backstreet Boys sounds like the sort of thing the online world abounds with. This dancing seal, however, is more than just internet cuteness fodder -- it's scientifically significant. The seal is thought to be the first non-human mammal capable of keeping a beat.

Scientists previously thought that this ability was only available in animals that showed human vocal mimicry, like parrots. However, trainers at University of California Santa Cruz, where Ronan lives, have been able to train her to bob her head in time with music. By varying the beat and tempo of songs used, they've shown that she is in fact responding to the music. 

This video, however, of a sea lion walking into a La Jolla bar is completely devoid of scientific value.