(RNN) – Sharks – and all that jazz.
It seems these denizens of the deep dig improvisation over the more structured stylings of classical music.
Scientists at Australia's Macquarie University discovered the preference while studying how baby Port Jackson sharks respond to sounds when they’re fed.
The information appears in the journal Animal Cognition.
"There is some anecdotal evidence that sharks can associate the noise of outboard motors of boats and baiting in fishing and cage diving activities," Catarina Vila-Pouca, the study's main author told CNN.
To test the theory, the scientists set out to condition a group of sharks to swim toward the corner of the tank where music was playing.
"We initially tested if they could associate the jazz song with food,” Vila-Pouca said. “Five out of the eight sharks did, and so we did a follow-up experiment with these five to see if they could learn to distinguish between jazz versus classical music.”
This is where the sharks got finicky in their musical tastes.
When the jazz song played, they would go to the same feeding area they were taught to go to, but when the classical music played, they didn't swim towards it, according to Vila-Pouca.
The sharks seemed confused, according to researchers.
“It was obvious that the sharks knew that they had to do something when the classical music was played, but they couldn’t figure out that they had to go to a different location,” Macquarie professor Culum Brown said.
So, why should we care about this?
"We hope our research can help people empathize more with sharks and understand how fantastic and complex animals they are," said Vila-Pouca.
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