Do Chimps in a “Conga Line” Hint at the Evolution of Dance?

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Sometimes you just have to shake your head. That was my reaction when I read this headline, “Zoo Chimps Doing a ‘Conga Line’ Could Teach Us How Humans Evolved to Dance.” Yes, you read that right! Two chimps swaying and walking in synchronization is thought by these researchers to provide insight into the evolution of dance.

These particular chimps were very closely bonded, having been together since they were just a few months old (one of the chimps died in 2018). For several years, they exhibited this strange, apparently self-taught behavior, of walking and swaying in sync. Researchers watched YouTube videos of the pair and determined that this was a ritual the chimps had invented and not an accident or something the keepers or guests had taught them. But are they really “dancing”?

Well, there’s no music (other animal species have been known to dance to music), and the researchers say, “it’s likely that the dance arose as a coping behavior for the two chimps.” This “dance” is quite likely a stress management technique the pair invented.

Despite the fact that this isn’t dancing at all, the researchers go on to say,

but the very fact that chimps have the capacity to adopt this behavior . . . is reason enough to suspect the origins of dance in humans might have been a multi-step process that didn’t even involve music initially . . . maybe it was a behavior first practiced by close-knit groups of proto-humans in stressful situations.

Made in God’s image, we were gifted with intelligence right from the beginning.

There you have it! You know now why humans dance—because a couple of apes walked and swayed together.

Well, according to God’s Word, humans were making musical instruments just a few generations after Adam (Genesis 4:21)—so it’s likely they were dancing right from the beginning. Humans didn’t need to somehow stumble upon complex behaviors. Made in God’s image, we were gifted with intelligence right from the beginning. The behaviors of stressed chimps don’t tell us anything about supposed human evolution. We get a true picture of origins from God’s Word.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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