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‘Victory Dance’ the Same for All Primates

Written by PETA | August 13, 2008

Blind and sighted, man or macaque—we all celebrate in the same way. A recent study from scientists at the University of British Columbia and San Francisco State University shows that the “victory dance”—arms raised, chest puffed out—is an instinctive trait of all primates.

You mean I have something in common with Michael Phelps? All right, then!


cnn / CC
Michael Phelps


It turns out that the victory dance closely resembles the dominance displays of chimpanzees and monkeys—”Yes, I’m strong, and I’m bigger than you”—and is universal among all athletes, from all cultures, including blind Paralympians. Since the blind athletes couldn’t have learned this behavior from others, the victory dance has to be innate.

Similarly, poses of defeat—heads down, shoulders slumped—are also the same for all primates (and not only primates), with the exception of some sighted athletes from the U.S. and Western Europe. The lead author of the study speculates that “the athletes were intentionally hiding their feelings—consciously overriding their innate urge to signal defeat—because losing is so stigmatized in their cultures.” Tellingly, blind athletes from the same countries did exhibit the same defeat poses as other primates—showing again that this is innate behavior.

More and more studies confirm what we already know—that we are all one under the skin. Hopefully, these studies will bring humans one step closer toward having respect for all primates.

Written by Amanda Schinke

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  • Meghan says:

    I’ll have to read that book. And what an excellent website. Thanks Holly!

  • Holly says:

    Hi Meghan I very much enjoyed reading your post very informative and most interesting Thank You So Very Much! You may enjoy reading Before the Dawn Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade check out this web site. httpwww.culturechange.orgcmsindex.php?optioncomcontenttaskviewid174Itemid1 Enjoy Holly

  • Meghan says:

    Actually I learned in several of my evolution vertebrate zoology and mammalogy classes that humans originated out of Africa with dark skin. After migrating north where the sun is less intense human skin began to lighten through adaptation to its surroundings. Because dark skin actually protects humans from harmful sun rays which is needed near the equator those humans who migrated north had a harder time absorbing vitamin D which comes from the sun and ended up with rickets. Thus natural selection kicked in and humans began to genetically adapt so that their melanin production in the skin was essentially turned off for the most part. The problem with this evolutionary adaptation is that without the dark skin to protect the inner DNA structure of skin cells lighter skinned people end up with high rates of skin cancer especially those that choose to inhabit or frequently visit tropical locations. Now that I have established that I am a HUGE nerd here is another interesting fact of which most of you probably already know Found only in Africa and Asia the great apes orangutans gorillas chimpanzees and bonobos were once classified in the family Pongidae but have now been placed in the family Hominidae which includes humans. Having evolved from a common ancestor approximately five to seven million years ago great apes and humans are genetically similar with the majority of the scientific community considering chimpanzees and bonobos to be our closest living relatives sharing a remarkable 98.7 of our DNA. And as always Go Vegan.

  • Holly says:

    I read an excellent book “Before the Dawn” about populations and genetics. It says they suspect the group of humans who left Africa and ultimately populated the rest of the world may have been as small as 150 people. Another interesting concept from the same book is they think humans may have initially had white skin and it became dark to protect from the sun in Africa. The reason for this is that monkeys skin under the fur is white. Just thought it was interesting so I am passing it on… Go Vegan and have a Great do no harm day…

  • Leigh says:

    I’ve seen some apes that are better looking than Phelps

  • lynda downie says:

    Indeed Amanda! And I’m proud to have such wonderful kin!

  • vegan4animals says:

    well all we humans are is hairless apes. in fact we share the same classification “Great Ape” with 4 other apes chimpanzee orangutan bonobo and gorilla. Oh and a gorilla which is veganfoliovore could easily tear the greatest human athlete to shreds as they are 10 times stronger even their jaws are 10 times stronger so much jaw strength to chew on foliage…my oh my how can a human with such a puny weak jaw ever hope to chew up meat. Fact is they don’t. They only succeed in gnawing onto meat after it is cooked and rendered carcinogenic they can’t break it apart for good digestion and human acids are too weak so it ends up sitting in the puny weak human digestive tract for a long time rotting. Humans are not sophisticated apes at all otherwise they would have universal compassion and empathy. Instead they brutally dominate and torment all of the other animals each other and destroy the planet.

  • Holly says:

    We are a product of our evolution…

  • Becci says:

    Hahaha that is hilarious!