Cypress Hill Played Through a Squid: Insane in the Membrane, Indeed

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Finally, an answer to that question we’ve all been mulling for years: What happens when you blast early-90s hip hop through the nerves of a squid?

A group called Backyard Brains — two scientists who perform hands-on experiments to expose the wonders of neuroscience — conducted its latest experiment to test the effects of music on squids’ pigmented cells known as chromatophores. Because really, you know, why not?

According to the group’s website, the squid in question — a Longfin Inshore — has three varieties of chromatophore colors: red, brown and yellow. Each cell is surrounded by several muscles that, when stimulated, contract to reveal the pigment within the cell. The scientists used an iPod nano as the stimulator, connecting the headphones — minus the ear buds — to the squid’s nerve through a suction electrode. Next, they scrolled to Cypress Hill’s 1993 hit “Insane in the Brain,” turned up the volume, and hit play.

The video provides a zoomed-in view, through a microscope, of the dorsal side of the squid’s fin. As the song plays, and the sounds are converted by the iPod into vibrations, the experiment reveals the chromatophores’ bizarrely beautiful reaction, almost akin to an iTunes visualizer. Except, you know, with more science. And more squids.

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