“Japan scientists study oyster ‘language’”

December 6, 2011

First thing they found out: That oysters spend a lot of time talking about “Oyster Hell,” a place they describe as “where bad oysters are thrown into cauldrons of boiling water, squirted with acid, and eaten by hideous monsters.” Ha! Such imaginations!

Now back to the story:

Scientists in Japan have begun studying the “language” of oysters in an effort to find out what they are saying about their environment.

Researchers are monitoring the opening and closing of the molluscs in response to changes in seawater, such as reduced oxygen or red tide, a suffocating algal bloom, that can lead to mass die-offs.

Using a device they have nicknamed the “kai-lingual”, a play on the Japanese word “kai” or shellfish, scientists from Kagawa Universitywant to see if they can decode oyster movements that might warn of possible problems.

Pretty darn fascinating. And:

“With kai-lingual, we can hear the ‘screams’, like ‘we are in pain because of insufficient oxygen’,” said Tsuneo Honjo, director of theSeto Inland Sea Regional Research Center at the university.

“The Scream of the Oyster.” That should make the “This is Not a Euphemism!” Hall of Fame…


Holy cow we’ve got a HOLIDAY SALE going on! 30% of all books! And it goes all the way through December! Wow!

• Nearly related and hopefully interesting aside from our very latest and just enormous collection of awesome things, Uncle John’s 24-KARAT-GOLD Bathroom Reader:


THE PLAINTIFF: Dennis Gaede, a prison inmate
THE DEFENDANT: North Dakota State Penitentiary
THE LAWSUIT: Gaede alleged that while he was eating a breaded oyster in the prison’s cafeteria in 2010, a piece of shell cracked one of his teeth. He asked the prison’s dentist to perform a root canal and put a crown on the damaged tooth, but the dentist simply pulled the tooth. So Gaede, who is serving a life sentence for killing and dismembering a man, sued the prison for $75,000, claiming “cruel and unusual punishment.”
THE VERDICT: Case dismissed.