Nautilus

That Time in 8th Grade When an Electric Eel Almost Killed Sarah

When you’re a kid, it’s easy to take things for granted—to assume, for example, that your experiences, however unique, are relatively common. But then you find out way later in life that no, in fact not everyone tested the “Mary Poppins Theory of Gravity” by jumping off their hay barn clutching an umbrella, as I did, or was sung to sleep each night by the high-pitched bugling of the neighborhood elk herd.

That sense of distinction is how I felt reading the news that a researcher at Vanderbilt University had finally corroborated a centuries-old tale about electric eels. I thought: People don’t know this already?

This month, Kenneth Catania, a scientist with a passion for studying Electrophorus

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