[ExI] Music

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Mon Aug 3 17:20:52 UTC 2020

On 03/08/2020 12:17, John K Clark mentioned:
> .. the near universal appeal of music ...

This is a question that has puzzled me sorely for a long, long time.

Why are we the only animals that seem to have a sense of rhythm? Many 
animals make noises of various kinds, sometimes even rhythmic sounds, 
but you never see a group of animals getting into a groove the way 
humans do.

I've never seen a dog tapping its paw or nodding along to a piece of 
music, and even birds that seem to be doing this are oddities (and I 
suspect they're not really doing this at all, but just mimicking 
humans), and on their own. There's no other species that has a musical 
sense, that I know about. The odd thing is, I can't see any advantage 
that it confers, and even if it is a spandrel, as John suggests, what 
other advantageous trait could it be a result of? I can't think of 
anything. So where did it come from? Even other primates don't seem to 
have anything approaching it. Are there any documented instances of a 
bunch of chimps banging sticks on trees in a coordinated (and 
infectious) way, for instance? Anything like that? Even co-ordinated 
dancing? I've not heard of any.

Any ideas?

Ben Zaiboc

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