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Ancestral human mother–infant interaction was an adaptation that gave rise to music and dance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 September 2021

Ellen Dissanayake*
School of Music, University of Washington, Seattle, WA98195-3450,


Human infants are born ready to respond to affiliative signals of a caretaker's face, body, and voice. This ritualized behavior in ancestral mothers and infants was an adaptation that gave rise to music and dance as exaptations for promoting group ritual and other social bonding behaviors, arguing for an evolutionary relationship between mother and infant bonding and both music and dance.

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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