For thousands of years, humans recognized a kinship with other animals. But this recognition of kinship disappeared throughout much of Western thought when a view of a purely mechanical world that gradually took over with the scientific revolution. Newton’s theory of gravity, in which the entire universe was envisaged as a kind of giant machine, gave an apparently solid foundation to this view in which humans, and only humans, were capable of feeling and thoughts, and much else.
Today many people are delighted, others horrified, to discover that animals can think and feel. They solve problems, they mourn, they often demonstrate a sense of fair play and altruism, and sometimes deliberately deceive, manipulate and play tricks.
Now we are discovering that they can even dance! Parrots are among the most prolific groovers, and may suggest just how deep our own human capacity for rhythm and dance lies.