How a shrimp on a treadmill became a Web sensation

By | November 26, 2008

How a shrimp on a treadmill became a Web sensation

YouTube phenomenon is actually a serious experiment, scientists explain … Since the “running shrimp” video first appeared on a faculty page at Pacific University of Oregon, at least 62 versions of it — many set to such inspiring tunes as the themes from “Chariots of Fire” and “Rocky” — have been posted on YouTube, drawing millions of viewers.

What those who have been amused by the running shrimp may not know is that they’re actually watching serious science, on issues that could affect us all. On Tuesday, David Scholnick and Lou Burnett, the two marine biology researchers who devised the experiment, told TODAY’s Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Al Roker how surprised they were to discover the sensation their courageous crustaceans have become. … At first, Burnett and Scholnick weren’t sure the little critters would actually run on the rotating belt in their aquarium, or whether they’d last for more than a couple of minutes even if they did.

Energizer shrimp
To their amazement, they found that, like the Energizer Bunny, healthy shrimp just kept going and going and going — just as a sample shrimp did in an aquarium that Burnett and Scholnick brought along with them to Studio 1A.

“We thought they would pedal along, swim and walk for a few minutes, and [instead] just hours and hours went by,” said Scholnick. “We just stopped the experiment because they’d just go on and on.” Some were still going strong after more than four hours.

The shrimp used in the experiments were bred for research and were not taken from the wild. The research was funded by a National Science Foundation grant…. – msnbc

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