Dancing Animals Make Their Way Into My Heart
November 15, 2013

Dancing Animals Make Their Way Into My Heart

As I rested in bed trying to recover from the serious icks that plagued me recently, I was playing around on the Internet, going to my favorite sites and checking out what is new in the world. I was also on the lookout for something happy to help me feel, well, better. Convalescing is hard work. And that is when National Geographic invited me to check out the dance moves of many of the world’s animals, arachnids, and insects. These made me feel better, so I figured why not share it with redOrbit readers. Everyone needs a moment to enjoy something like this.

Let’s start with the arachnids and insects. The first is the peacock spider. This little—and I do mean little at only 0.1 inches or 55 millimeters—puts on a show that is worth seeing.

Isn’t that incredible!?! I have been to dance clubs where the people did not move that cool. And what a pretty fan he has to woo his potential mate. Between the hopping, flashing, shimmying, waving, and the colors, it is hard to turn this little eight-legged beaut away. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the twinkle fingers and jazz hands that this guy uses. He is not afraid of others knowing he’s got talent.

Beyond the peacock spider, the National Geographic article mentioned the honey bee’s dance as well.

That angle, waggle, reverse, and waggle dance may communicate all that the other bees need to know to collect the pollen necessary for making honey, but it also is pretty hip. Next time I’m on a dance floor, I just might try that. Angle, waggle, reverse, waggle. I think I can do that.

The last three dancing creatures that the Nat Geo article discussed are all birds: the red-capped manakin, parrots, and birds of paradise. And oh are these dances worth it.

Let’s start with the birds of paradise. There are plenty of breeds of this bird, and each has its own dance to seduce a mate, but this one, the superb bird of paradise, turns from an average black bird into an alien, psychedelic male on the prowl. You have to watch this:

Wasn’t that incredible? I mean, he really put on the moves. Not only does he virtually morph into something magical, but also his hopping and bopping chasing her around really shows his interest. Now, I know that dance is weird and all, so here is a calmer, more natural dance from the greater bird of paradise:

It is still incredible and rhythmic only without the freaky alien face to go with it.

Parrots also have a penchant for the grooves. The Nat Geo article spoke of two famous parrots in Snowball, the sulphur-crested cockatoo, and Alex, the African gray who proved his intelligence. In the words of the article, “Having rhythm was thought by many to be a purely human trait, but these birds show that’s probably not the case. Researchers Aniruddh Patel and Adena Schachner who were studying Snowball and Alex respectively found that both birds showed evidence of truly having rhythm: They adjusted to tempo changes and responded to music that was new to them.” This video of a parrot dancing Gangnam style definitely supports that:

But the cherry on this list of awesome dancers is the red-capped manakin bird. Oh yes, all of the others certainly have talent and could woo, but the red-capped manakin has something, well, more. He can moonwalk! Yes, you read that right. The red-capped manakin moonwalks. Take a look:

Now, wasn’t that worth it? Don’t you feel better, too?

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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