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Intra-uterine Shark Attack!

I've got an idea for the next shark attack movie. It takes place in the uterus of a grey nurse shark, told from the point of view of shark embryos that are being eaten by other shark embryos. And this is actually more realistic than most shark attack movies.

Australian scientists have been trying to find ways to save the grey nurse sharks from extinction and they're realizing that one of the problems is this intra-uterine cannibalism. As New Scientist reports, "Its embryos have a nasty habit of eating each other in the uterus. Despite starting a pregnancy with up to 40 embryos in her two uteruses, a female shark only gives birth to two pups."

So, a team of scientists in New South Wales plans to raise up to 40 sharks each year by flushing them from the mother's uterus and helping them develop in a test tube.

I just hope nobody's pitched my movie idea yet.

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Stradivarius Violins Get Their Distinctive Sound By Mimicking the Human Voice
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Italian violinist Francesco Geminiani once wrote that a violin's tone should "rival the most perfect human voice." Nearly three centuries later, scientists have confirmed that some of the world's oldest violins do in fact mimic aspects of the human singing voice, a finding which scientists believe proves "the characteristic brilliance of Stradivari violins."

Using speech analysis software, scientists in Taiwan compared the sound produced by 15 antique instruments with recordings of 16 male and female vocalists singing English vowel sounds, The Guardian reports. They discovered that violins made by Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari, the pioneers of the instrument, produce similar "formant features" as the singers. The resonance frequencies were similar between Amati violins and bass and baritone singers, while the higher-frequency tones produced by Stradivari instruments were comparable to tenors and contraltos.

Andrea Amati, born in 1505, was the first known violin maker. His design was improved over 100 years later by Antonio Stradivari, whose instruments now sell for several million dollars. "Some Stradivari violins clearly possess female singing qualities, which may contribute to their perceived sweetness and brilliance," Hwan-Ching Tai, an author of the study, told The Guardian.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. A 2013 study by Dr. Joseph Nagyvary, a professor emeritus at Texas A&M University, also pointed to a link between the sounds produced by 250-year-old violins and those of a female soprano singer.

According to Vox, a blind test revealed that professional violinists couldn't reliably tell the difference between old violins like "Strads" and modern ones, with most even expressing a preference for the newer instruments. However, the value of these antique instruments can be chalked up to their rarity and history, and many violinists still swear by their exceptional quality.

[h/t The Guardian]

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