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Scientist electrocutes himself with an eel

Posted on Sunday, 17 September, 2017 | Comment icon 12 comments

Electric eels can generate a very powerful jolt. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Steven G. Johnson
One biologist decided to take a hands-on approach to studying the powerful shock of an electric eel.
As part of a recent study, Vanderbilt University professor of biological science Kenneth Catania decided to stick his own arm inside a tank with an electric eel to see what would happen.

The experiment aimed to better understand the eel's ability to transmit electrical power to a target.

Electric eels are capable of generating a jolt of over 800 watts - enough to stun both predators and prey and even to attack land-dwelling animals by leaping at them out of the water.

Fortunately for Catania, the eel he used in the study was only a juvenile, however its shock was still enough to give him a series of nasty jolts and a rather sore arm.

Of particular note was the way the jolts forced him to quickly withdraw his arm from the water.

"Greatly exceeding thresholds for the withdrawal reflexes in diverse species provides a convenient benchmark for rating the averseness of the eel's attack, and it is a testament to the potential effectiveness of the leaping defense," he said.

In other words - electric eels are not to be messed with.

Source: | Comments (12)

Tags: Electric Eel

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by jarjarbinks on 18 September, 2017, 1:19
book version was more hardcore than the tv serie something like the eel go inside his mouth and try to eat his tongue thinking it's some kind of fish and dig his way through the inside by eating and tearing his flesh and electrocuting him all the way until it exit from the an#s
Comment icon #4 Posted by brizink on 18 September, 2017, 2:15
I wonder if he took bets on whether or not he himself would die?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Klownzilla on 18 September, 2017, 3:56
Reminds me of when I was a kid and wondered how strong a bb gun really is...well...I could only try it on myself so I loaded it and shot myself in the foot. It hurt bad :-D
Comment icon #6 Posted by seanjo on 18 September, 2017, 10:40
Comment icon #7 Posted by paperdyer on 18 September, 2017, 14:00
Another Darwin award winner!
Comment icon #8 Posted by Almighty Evan on 18 September, 2017, 14:11
In order to win a much-lauded fraudulent Darwin Award, one must actually have to die (before procreating). Kenneth Catania lived. The Darwin Awards books state that an attempt is made to disallow known urban legends from the awards, but some older "winners" have been "grandfathered" to keep their awards. The Darwin Awards site does try to verify all submitted stories, but many similar sites, and the vast number of circulating "Darwin awards" emails, are largely fictional. Source:
Comment icon #9 Posted by seanjo on 19 September, 2017, 10:18
I wouldn't compare this fella with any Darwin recipients, he's just a scientist carrying out an experiment...not one I would volunteer for though.
Comment icon #10 Posted by oslove on 20 September, 2017, 4:13
  I ask myself why the electric eel does not get electrocuted by itself, and I read an article in Popular Science, with the conclusion that it is a mystery.
Comment icon #11 Posted by oslove on 20 September, 2017, 19:32
  Disclaimer: Don't do these experiments [described below] at all, just ask the operator of a car electrical service shop, what will happen when a stupid guy who is always feeling himself so smart and flippant dares to actually undertake the experiments described below, in particular the second one. I will NOT be answerable for any injury to your body and damage to your property. __________________________   You see, dear colleagues here, in order to get electrocuted, you have got to hold with your bare hand a wire that is coming from a source of electric current in one terminal, like say one ... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by taniwha on 20 September, 2017, 23:40
Why aren't there electric humans?  That's the real mystery here.

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