Sociologists have long since claimed that dancing in humans is a form of courtship display, no different from the dancing done by Birds of Paradise or Blue Footed Boobies. However, this is hotly contested with dancing a common feature across all human cultures, with many humans dancing purely for fun.
This Fun Only Dancing was long considered to be the preserve of humanity, with no other species dancing for mere pleasure.
Botanists and environmental scientists checking on the numbers of African Plains Elephants have documented something quite peculiar.
"We were astounded," said Savannah Marsh, lead environmental scientist on the African Plains Elephant team. "We saw a troop of elephants plodding slowly in step circling a pair of elephants that were stomping from side to side."
Video cameras documented the scene, and watching it back later, the team realised that the steps were in synchrony with the rumbles of distant thunder.
"There was only one reason for the behaviour we could think of," said Marsh. "They were dancing."
The team eliminated any other explanations for the odd actions of the pachyderms. "Neither of the elephants in the centre of the circle were ill, dying, pregnant or particularly important members of the troop. It appears as though the dozen elephants were moving to the sound of the thunder merely for the pleasure of doing so."
This isn't the first time that elephants have been seen performing particularly human traits, such as caring for the disabled, grieving, crèches, getting drunk and social exclusion for transgressors of elephant culture. Scientists have known for a long time that elephants are capable of a range of emotions, including pleasure, and that elephants have a range of quite delicate movements.
"There's not been much use for this information," admitted Marsh. "Apart from sheer interest. However, we put the video on You Tube to a Black Eyed Peas soundtrack, and it's doing quite well."