CLOSE

Fish catches man

Last week we wrote about how hard it is to be a member of Class Osteichthyes; this week it seems the fish are fighting back:

A fisherman was recovering from surgery after he was speared in the chest and knocked into the Atlantic Ocean by a blue marlin during a fishing competition off Bermuda's coast. ... [Ian] Card and his father, Alan, both operators of a charter fishing boat and experienced marlin fishermen, had just hooked the fish Saturday when it suddenly leapt out of the water, impaled Ian Card just below his collar bone and knocked him into the ocean.

Not to sound unsympathetic, but the guy had just impaled a fish; can he really be surprised that the fish wanted to impale him back? Blue marlins, which you may know from The Old Man and the Sea, are amazing animals, creatures that seem more suited to the red-in-tooth-and-claw dino era than our own. All the trophy-size fish (and by trophy-size we mean something like 1,000 pounds) are female; male fish don't get above 300 pounds, which must lead to all kinds of awkward conversations between spouses ("for the last time, honey, you don't look fat in that!").

nextArticle.image_alt|e
arrow
video
Bone Broth 101
5669938080001

Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
science
Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
iStock
iStock

If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios