The Ig Nobel prize is awarded about a week prior to its more earnest and important Nobel cousin, to reward scientific research which fulfils that very thing which much of science fails to address: making people laugh.
I’ve never been one for laughing at science, as I’m too much in awe of all the binary code, genetic programming and brain-exploding universal theories. But I can appreciate the need for research into fish flatulence. So I thank you – Dr Bob Batty, Dr Ben Wilson, Professor Larry Dill and your assorted research assistants – for bringing this to public attention in your recent lecture at Dundee University.
Farting in company holds many horrors for humankind. The opposite appears to be true for herring. The British/Canadian team monitored these fine fish through the night with infrared cameras and underwater microphones, and Dr Batty revealed the following:
We heard these rasping noises, which sound like high pitched raspberries, only ever at night, whenever we saw tiny gas bubbles coming from the herrings’ bottoms.
And a further observational nugget from Dr Wilson:
We also noticed that individual fish release more bubbles the more fish are in the tank with them. In other words it seems that herring like to fart in company.
I’m with the herring on this one, especially in the confines of a car in the early stages of the school run. Perhaps you can tell why I’m in my particular line of work.