Here at One News Page, we’re all about finding you the latest breaking stories and some of the most important and fascinating developments in society and world culture. Sometimes, however, we like to take a peek at some truly bizarre stories that can’t escape our attention. This week, we’ve been captivated by news from Sydney’s Macquarie University, and it’s all to do about the study of sharks – everyone’s favorite fearsome sea giants – and how they respond to certain sounds. If headlines and reports are to be believed, certain sharks appear to respond better to that most divisive of musical genres – jazz – than, say, classical standards.
Catarina Vila Pouca has led researchers in Australia to publish an intriguing paper in the Animal Cognition journal – which goes into some detail about how sharks recognize certain noises, sounds and even music – and in this particular study, the toothy beasts were enticed by jazz music – and for the most part, it absolutely worked. Young sharks residing in Port Jackson were introduced to jazz music and were trained to follow the dulcet tones in order to find food – eventually completely autonomously responding to the music as they considered it a sign that food was incoming. It’s all rather like training a dog to expect certain treats, for example – and it’s hugely fascinating.
This particular study has shown that sharks can associate sounds with certain activities remarkably quickly – it’s well-known that they can pick up on the sounds of certain boats as they may be treated to meat by tourists or shark feeders – but, as the study further proposed, they have some difficulty differentiating between different types of music. Having been played classical music, the sharks being trained still acted as if they were to expect food – but not that they would be expected to do anything different. Therefore, it’s interesting to note that while sharks appear to have the cognitive ability to associate certain noises, they do not necessarily have the ability to differentiate between them.
This doesn’t, of course, mean that every shark is into smooth jazz – but it does keenly demonstrate that they have extremely sensitive hearing, and that they can make broad associations as part of their learning behavior. As some of the oceans’ smartest predators, it’s little wonder that they are so good at getting their lunch when they perhaps need it the most!