George Stimpson

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What makes a waltzing mouse waltz?

The waltzing mouse is not an ordinary mouse that dances. It is a member of a rare domesticated breed, supposedly of Japanese origin, that has the habit of suddenly interrupting whatever it is doing and spinning around rapidly on end like a top. Some waltzers appear to be unable to progress in a straight course but whirl about in small circles continually. It is generally supposed that this characteristic is due to some unexplained defect of anatomy, perhaps a fault in the labyrinth of the ears that interferes with the animal's sense of equilibrium. Whatever the cause, the dancing characteristic is transmitted according to the Mendelian law of heredity, and waltzing mice are produced by selective breeding.