The bonobo beat

Bonobo Image of bonobo from Reuters. Credit: REUTERS/KATRINA MANSON/FILES

Researchers have observed that bonobos are innately able to match a beat that was created by the research team. The bonobos demonstrated their musical skills using a special drum that was created to withstand 500 pounds of pressure, chewing, etc. The favored tempo matched the cadence of human speech, about 280 beats per minute.

The ability to keep a beat is thought to be important in developing and strengthening social bonds as well as communicating. In fact, some researchers hypothesize that Neanderthals communicated using musical tones of sorts.



Visit PBS for more information on the musical theory of Neaderthal communication.

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