Do Fish Fart – > Blog > Science Explains > Natural History > The Story of the Ferret That Almost Started a War (Biology Skipped)
Imagine spending all your time listening to something you can’t see but only hear “normal noise” that it’s a national security issue or the cause of World War III. You are sound, your children are telling you something is wrong, and you are not crazy. But you won’t find him… After fifteen years he became a small fish. A huge school of small fish… fart. This happened to the Swedish navy a long time ago, which led to diplomatic tensions between Sweden and Russia, but in the end, it returned peaceful biology to the Baltic Sea.
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Sweden’s famous “non-conformity” did not keep them from the path of conflict in previous wars. The Swedish area has been tested many times and has good reason to prepare their position, and now we know that they do not have.
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Sweden was ultimately neutral, but did not participate directly during the Cold War (1947-1989/91). However, the main players in this war were our neighbors across the Baltic Sea: the (then) Soviet Union.
In 1981, when a missing Russian submarine sank off the coast of Sweden in the Baltic Sea, there was naturally a lot of concern. Suddenly not only in Swedish territory, but a controlled area near the Swedish naval base. Danger? We still don’t know. The Russians claimed that their navigation devices had malfunctioned and were eventually escorted back east. During the remainder of the Cold War, the Swedes remained vigilant and increased surveillance, including several unsuccessful submarine hunts in Swedish waters. Their military drones and sonar often detect a lot of submarine activity – or so they think.
But the Cold War ended between 1989 and 1991, and why did the Swedish Navy have so many naval operations in the years after that? In 1994, tensions rose to such an extent that Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt wrote to Boris Yels, the first president of the Russian Federation, asking him to stop what was happening. Yeltsin replied: “Dude, I don’t know what you’re talking about” (or you know, the diplomatic version of this).
It was only in 1996 that the Swedish Navy decided to show all this audio evidence to the first civilians who heard this “normal sound”: biologists (biologists?), ornithologist Magnus Wahlberg and Håkan Westerberg. Remember that by this time the Navy had been listening and following these voices for fifteen years. FIFTEEN!!!
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In his TEDtalk, Wahlberg described what the Navy calls “normal noise” as the sound of frying bacon. Wahlberg and Westerberg suspect the biological origin of the “normal voice”. They talk to the local fishermen, sometimes they “boil” their fishing nets. First they studied Baltic herring in an aquarium and found they made some noise—but nothing like frying pork. They realized that they had to develop because they are in large schools (large aggregations – Atlantic herring can travel in schools up to four kilometers !!!) I have a good estimate of the subspecies but I did not find the Baltics. Many (many) of these fish at the same time emit small bubbles from the anus, and when the bubbles rise up they make a sound of fried pork, which is similar to a fishing house. The “voice of culture” that the military has been looking for for over fifteen years is just another way.
When we swim, we have to give a lot of energy to stay afloat, which can be tiring (or a good cardio exercise). But are fish always tired? It doesn’t make much evolutionary sense.
Many species of bony fish coordinate their movements using a special organ called a swim bladder. The swim bladder helps the fish to swim and conserve “muscle strength” when they need to escape from predators, fishermen or biologists. You can think of the swim bladder as a balloon inside the body of a fish. They can inflate or deflate it to control where they are in the water column.
There are different types of swim bladders depending on how they are connected to other organs and how they work. Some types of ‘i type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type type i type type type type type type type type)) and fill it on top of the water. Others lack these connections and exchange gases only through the circulatory system or have gas glands that fill with carbon dioxide produced by chemical reactions in other organs. Others such as Baltic herring (
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Their swim bladder is connected to the stomach (and therefore indirectly to the mouth) and anus.
Other fish, such as cartilaginous fish (sharks and rays), do not have a swim bladder. Instead, the liver stores more fat to help flush it out. As you remember from childhood experiences: oil is less dense than water.
The physics of fish is very interesting and we can go into it for a while, but today let’s focus on the sound of the Baltic herring’s anus. It has long been thought that sardines use their mouths to fill their bladders through a “pneumatic duct” (a small channel that runs through their stomachs) while they are on the surface. When they need to release gas (for example, to prevent it from exploding while riding or under pressure from a fishing net), they don’t let it go: they throw it out. But many questions remain about how herring fill their swim bladders, and a study of Atlantic herring reported that most farts are produced at night and are not necessarily related to when they shed. wind from above. So how do you save or “restore” them? We don’t know yet; We know they say farts (of course, some may argue that they aren’t farts because they aren’t produced in the intestines, but we use the liberal definition of farts as “expulsion of gas from the anus”) .
Interestingly, the gas-filled canal in the herring connects their swim bladder to the otolith organ (which is related to direction and “hearing”) and the part of the “sensory system” (or nerve cells) in in their heads. This means herring are good listeners!
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So far, many studies have shown that clopid fish (herring family) can sense the differences in water in their environment and communicate with the swim bladder as a resonator chamber. This is especially useful for late nights when schools are not visible. Wahlberg and Westerberg argue that sardines release gas for social rather than physical reasons.
Interestingly, the article on Atlantic herring called the farts “fast repeating tick,” or FRT. For a while, scientists thought that only members of a certain species could hear their FRT speakers to deliver “secret messages” and successfully avoid predators, but now we know that some predators – some birds – can hear these messages. FRT herring discussion – as done by the Swedish Navy.
Now that you know, contact the scientists before you panic about your super food for over fifteen years!
Fun fact: During World War II, sonar users were often confused by the loud noises of swimming tubes and other “bubbles” of some plankton. A phenomenon called the “false bottom” of the ocean (now called the “deep diffuse layer”) gives the impression that the ocean floor is deeper during the day than at night, when in fact the “color there was only one, and it was from wild life…
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Wahlberg, M. and H. Westerberg. 2003. Sound by foaming herring (Clupea harengus). Marine Life Resources 3 (16) 271-275.
Wilson, B.R.S. Baty and L.M. And Dale. 2004. Pacific and Atlantic herring produce explosive pulse sounds. Biology Letters of the Royal Society. 271 S95-S97.
Spicy and dill. 1997. Behavior of schools of Pacific herring in response to humpback whale artificial bubbles. Canadian Journal of Zoology 75(5), 725-730.
Doxetera, L. Otherwise. Godot, N.O. Sentry. 2009. Behavioral responses of herring (Clupea harengus) to 1-2 and 6-7 kHz sonar signals and lethal feeding sounds. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 125, 554. Birds don’t hatch, waves don’t jump, and other secrets #doesitfart / This book will be published on April 3, 2018 in the United States.
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For pufferfish, a good fart can be a lifesaver: These tiny fish live in deep lakes in Mexico, where they scrape algae off rocks and dig up debris to hide from predators. As temperatures rise in summer, the algae produce a foamy foam that causes the fry to swell and float as they breathe.
A bloated fish swims in the background