Study: Sharks like jazz over other genres of music

The unpredictable groove of jazz music actually makes jazz the perfect music for sharks because it mimics the unpredictable flop of prey.

Sharks have an incredible keen sense of smell — 3/4 of its brain is dedicated to olfactory sense — but its sense of hearing isn't so bad, either. And in a recent study, it was discovered that sharks like jazz.


I'd like to pause the article, for just a second, to allow you envision sharks in comfy leather chairs, sipping cocktails, and listening to Dave Brubeck. Snapping fins to the beat and smoking cigarettes on the fire escape. If the editors (of which I am one!) haven't edited that out, I'll continue.

There's a reason for this preference to jazz among sharks. When prey is dying, it gives off a kind-of staccato beat as it flops around. The unpredictable groove of jazz music actually makes jazz the perfect music for sharks, who began to associate the music with food and even develop a "taste" (food joke!) for jazz as the test progressed. The sharks did, however, have trouble discerning between classical and jazz when both were played at the same time on opposite sides of the tank. Sure, it'd be pretty funny if the study had preferred the Jaws theme. But sadly that wasn't included in the test. 

Similarly, it was found in a 2015 study that sharks like heavy metal for the same reasons that they like jazz. It's unpredictable by design, and largely non-repetitive. 

Sharks are incredibly intelligent and some shivers (did you know a group of sharks is called a shivers?) over have learned over time to associate sounds of particular engines, like those of shark cage divers, with food. 

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