Wednesday, 25 April 2012

...Fish Can be Dicks.

The kind of fish I'm talking about are any (or at least most) of the fish that swim together in large schools. Their sole defence is swimming in groups together so that if they are discovered by any hungry whales, that maybe....just maybe....., they won't get picked off. Little do they know it usually doesn't make a difference. Once a hungover tuna sees the school as it's version of a McDonalds BigMac its all over for them. The tuna will usually attract other tuna, then other fish (sorry, mammals) such as dolphins or whales, and depending on the carnage...sharks. And they will all eat and eat until there is nothing left.

What tuna looks like when I'm hungover.
For a long time scientists didn't know how these large schools swam together with such precision. Same with huge flocks of birds. As far as we know they just do. Each fish just tries to keep his distance away from the next. If he moves right the fish next to him moves out of the way, also moving right. And like ping pong balls on mouse traps, it sets of a chain reaction of all fish moving right. So what happens when one of these little guys gets hurt? The blood could attract predators or an injury can slow down the group. So they leave him behind. Ditch him. But how do the fish know to do this? Turns out the injured fish releases a chemical called chondroitin sulfate. It seems an accidental evolutionary tactic. Scientists think its just given off with an injury anyway and fish just don't like it. Over time the fish learned to recognize it and understand what it means.

Round and round we go!
And that is what I learned today.

-The old english word 'Ye' is pronounced like our word 'The'

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