Researchers in the UK have discovered that, just like children with plenty of sugar and free space to play, great apes — including gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans — deliberately spin in circles to make themselves dizzy. By analyzing videos of these monkeys in action, scientists have concluded that this trait likely came from our common ancestors. According to the BBCThis behavior may help explain why humans evolved to want to get high. in Stady Posted in primates By Adriano R. Lameira and Marcus Perlman, the authors note that “altered mental states appear to be a universal human condition, both historically and culturally,” and that “spinning behaviors may generate similar neurophysiological effects in non-human great apes.”
Lamira, an associate professor of psychology, told the BBC the findings “hold dramatic consequences for how we think about modern human cognitive abilities and emotional needs”. Perelman is a cognitive scientist and professor of English and linguistics. He and Lamira looked at 40 videos showing a variety of monkeys running around on ropes. Primates tend to go through three bouts of spinning, each one lasting approximately five and a half cycles, though orangutans were more spinning than gorillas. Monkeys achieved a speed comparable to humans who spin while dancing, like ballet dancers and acrobats.
in a piece to ConversationPerlman said he began to wonder about the monkeys’ flirting behaviors after watching a video circulated at the Calgary Zoo of the gorilla Zola appearing to dance while playing in the water. Perelman writes that “the drive to spin stems from the common tendency to seek out and alter experiences that stimulate our senses”. However, after observing that humans have evolved in search of more intense altered states, Perelman concludes that “even a gentle spin helps us see the world in a different light.” (Read more discovery stories.)
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