Tag Archives: Not Exactly Rocket Science

Sailfish slam sardines by the seashore

Sailfish Postcard

I am not posting enough about ‘Interesting Science,’ so here is Ed Yong’s post on how sailfish hunt sardines. The sailfish sidles up to a small school and swishes the sword around to slash and stun the sorry sardines.

Okay, enough with the alliteration. They don’t use their bill to spear or poke the fish, but wield it like a baseball bat to wound, or at least disorient. The video clearly shows the fish do not see the bill as it comes up on them. I wonder if they are distracted by the large body and sail, so do not notice the thin and dark gray bill until it is much too late. Very interesting.

[Photo credit for Sailfish postcard, from Boston Public Library, Print Department, via Phenomena ‘Not Exactly Rocket Science Blog.’]

Fox hunting in the snow

Here’s one I’ve been dying to post. How does a fox catch mice when they’re hiding under the snow? Foxes have sharp hearing, so they obviously listen for the little tunnelers. Pouncing in a random direction, though, is only successful about one out of five tries (18%). But, pouncing in a northerly direction is effective three out of four times (73%)! While the mechanism is yet to be worked out, the researchers think there must be some magnetism involved. Pretty cool.

The NPR link above has a general description, plus the cool drawings. Ed Yong originally covered this in 2011 and has the more technical description.

Jumping Fox