Dance video about kangaroo behaviour might be the best thing you see today

Cosmos Magazine


Cosmos is a quarterly science magazine. We aim to inspire curiosity in ‘The Science of Everything’ and make the world of science accessible to everyone.

By Cosmos

An Australian has won an unusual prize from the prestigious journal Science and its publisher, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dr Weliton ‘Weli’ Menário Costa claimed the ‘Dance Your PhD’ prize for his outback music video combining dancers from all walks of life with an explanation of kangaroo behaviour – the subject of his research.

Menário Costa’s video, dubbed ‘Kangaroo Time’, combines a club beat with dancers from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultural communities, which serves as a useful demonstration of diversity within kangaroo groups.

Describing winning the prize as “the equivalent of winning Eurovision” for him, Menário Costa connects the spectrum of personalities and personal characteristics in humans – the dance troupe – to the unique traits of individual kangaroos.

“We found that kangaroos like to socialise in groups but prefer smaller social circles. Like humans, kangaroo personalities manifest early in life. Mothers and their offspring have similar personalities, and so do siblings,” he says. “Kangaroos are very socially aware and will adjust their behaviour based off cues from other roos.”

“Differences lead to diversity, and this is evident throughout the entire video,” he says. “It’s evident with the different dancers that herald from various cultures and backgrounds.”

“I think it’s extremely important that we celebrate diversity and creating a video explaining kangaroo personality was an excellent medium for me to do this.”

Menário Costa completed his PhD researching kangaroo behaviour at the Australian National University in 2021 after moving from Brazil.

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