Listen to the article and answer the questions.
1) What did the scientists in California prove?
a) That you can’t teach old animals new things
b) That you can teach some mammals to dance.
c) That dogs and sea lions have much in common.
2) Why is Ronan special?
a) Because she is the first non-human that can keep a beat.
b) Because she is the first mammal who can do what parrots and cockatoos can.
c) Because she is the first mammal who loves Bakctstreet Boys.
3) How did the scientists teach Ronan to bob her head to music?
a) They used hand and sound signals and the reward of fish.
b) They used a computer program.
c) They used musical sound signals and rhythmic sounds.
4) What kind of dance lessons did Ronan have?
a) Learning dance steps to pop music.
b) Listening to simplified versions of greatest hits.
c) Keeping time with different music tempos.
5) Which is true?
a) Ronan is not the only non-human to recognise a beat.
b) Ronan does not like pop music as much as musicals.
c) Ronan is exceptional because she is capable of vocal mimicry.
Answers: 1) b, 2) b, 3) a, 4) c, 5) a
This sea lion REALLY rocks! Ronan bops to the Backstreet Boys and into the science books as first mammal to recognise a beat
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – but you can teach a sea lion to dance, scientists in California have proved. Not only is Ronan the sea lion thought to be the first non-human mammal capable of keeping a beat, she has also turned out to be something of a Backstreet Boys fan. Marine scientists successfully taught Ronan to bob her head in time to music – a skill previously thought to exist only in animals capable of vocal mimicry, such as cockatoos, and parrots – including the boy band’s smash hit Everybody (Backstreet’s Back). Scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, trained the three-year-old sea lion to move in time to a hand signal, which was later replaced by a simple, non-musical sound signal. Ronan was rewarded with a fish everytime she bobbed her head to the varying rhythmic sounds. The team varied the type and speed of the sounds they used to confirm that Ronan was actually following the beat. Researchers used two computer-generated ticks – similar to a metronome – to establish that Ronan wasn’t simply bobbing her head in response to the previous beat. Ronan followed the beat even when a continuous metronome was replaced with one that skipped a beat, scientists said. The team then introduced Ronan to musical ‘dance’ lessons, starting her off with a simplified section of Down On The Corner by Creedence Clearwater Revival, before introducing some pop into the mix with the Backstreet Boys and Earth, Wind and Fire. Without any prior exposure to the tracks, Ronan stunned scientists by bobbing to the beat of all of the songs over the course of multiple trials. The musically–inclined mammal could also keep time with five different tempos of Boogie Wonderland, according to the study, which was published yesterday in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Comparitive Pyschology.
to prove – bizonyítani, bizonyulni
mammal – emlős
to bob – bólogatni
vocal mimicry – hangutánzás
cockatoo – kakadú
to replace – helyettesíteni, lecserélni
varying – váltakozó, különböző
to confirm – alátámasztani, igazolni
response – válasz, reakció
to skip a beat – kihagyni/átugrani egy ütemet
simplified – egyszerűsített
prior exposure – korábbi kitettség/kitevés (valaminek)
to stun – ledöbbenteni
multiple trial – számos próbatétel
musically-inclined – zenei beállítottságú