Chimps do it. Gorillas do it. Michael Phelps does it too.
The exuberant dance of victory — arms thrust toward the sky and chest puffed out at a defeated opponent — turns out to be an instinctive trait of all primates — humans included, according to research released Monday.
Scientists from the University of British Columbia and San Francisco State University looked at thousands of photographs of judo matches taken during the 2004 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games in Athens, for such classic in-your-face victory moves as clenched fists, thrown-back heads and outstretched arms.
The images of the 140 blind and sighted athletes from 37 countries revealed that Paralympic athletes blind from birth struck the same triumphant stance as sighted Olympic athletes. Since the blind athletes could not have learned the victory dance by watching others, the scientists concluded that the behavior was innate.
They found that the dance was the same for all, regardless of what culture or country they came from.
This display of human pride and exuberance — witnessed by millions when swimmer Phelps and teammates won the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay for the U.S. on Sunday — closely resembles the dominance displays of chimps and monkeys, which also feature outstretched arms and exaggerated postures, researchers said.
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