We humans are outclassed by the animal world in most physical activities. We can't run as fast as a cheetah, we don't swim as well as a dolphin, and we sure can't brachiate properly. But there is one arena in which we humans really do excel: We can dance if we want to.
Scientists from dozens of different disciplines have investigated dancing over the years, trying to determine why we human are so partial to this species-specific activity. We know a few things: Dancing can promote feelings of intimacy, elevate mood levels, and even serve as a kind of sexual advertising in some cultures and circumstances. Trace Dominguez has the details, plus some excellent "Footloose" references, in today's DNews dispatch.
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Scientific American: Why do we like to dance--And move to the beat?
NY Times: Why Music Makes Our Brain Sing
The Guardian: Rhythm without the blues: how dance crazes make us feel a step closer