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Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Whale of a Fart

We may finally have an answer to the age-old debate: Do fish fart? A new study reveals that, yes, some fish do omit gas—and that in some cases it can save their lives!

The findings suggest that herring escape the deadly grip of Norwegian killer whales by forming a wall of fart bubbles, then dashing off to safety.

According to Discovery News:

“The (herring) bubbles are released through the anal duct when the air expands as the fish ascend,” explained Malene Simon, who worked on the research. “We do not know if the fish release air when staying at one depth as a reaction when meeting a predator. However, it is very likely that the bubble will confuse or scare the predator in such a way that the herring will have a better chance of escaping.”

So there you have it: underwater farting as a survival tool. As for humans, I doubt fart bubbles will do much to ward off predators in the backyard pool, though they may create some unexpected tensions at the YMCA.

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