Arts Desk

Sharks Like Soul Music

shark_opt

I recently reported that monkeys like Metallica. In continuing animal-music news, it turns out that Barry White puts sharks in the mood for love.

Workers at a London aquarium played Barry White for a reluctant zebra shark named Zorro, and it was so effective, Zorro's violent and amorous overtures to other sharks apparently disturbed some visitors.

There's no official word on why the soul singer excited the zebra shark, but it's possible that the low frequencies of Barry White's voice mimic the sound of struggling fish. Research shows that sharks can hear about as well as we can, but they are most responsive to sounds lower than 375 hertz—pitches lower than the F sharp above a piano's middle C.

Sharks, like most fish, hear frequencies much lower than we do (down to 10 hertz, about one and a half octaves lower than a piano's lowest note)—perhaps because those sounds travel best in water.  Additionally, they sense vibrations with hair cells embedded the length of their bodies, as well as through their ears. So, perhaps it's no surprise they feel the power of Barry White in their bones— I mean, cartilage.

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