The famous MC Hammer mantra, "too legit to quit," applies to more than just mankind, it also applies to mindless masses of muscle. Twitter user Yakuta Suzuki captured a slab of yellowtail carcass that decided to just keep swimming even when on the literal chopping block. Stories of zombie fish and sinister sea-life arose from the Internet, likely awakened by the animated sushi's rather loud flapping. For nearly two minutes, the muscles violently flop around atop a table, without a head or heart! The stuff of nightmares, or of science gone too far?
In reality, it's a bit of both. Not merely a fun fish fact, spasming dead bodies is something even human cadavers do, albeit for different reasons. However, watching your meal thrash about before you've even figured out how you plan to season it will ruin any appetite you might have had. Should you ever hear that someone is "sleeping with the fishes," don't expect them to be getting a peaceful slumber.
It Likely Wasn't Staged
Everything you see on the Internet should be taken with a grain of salt. However, in the case of this flinging half-of-a yellowtail carcass, Suzuki's video likely is the real deal. The AV Club reportedly contacted a fishmonger to confirm the video's authenticity, which he did. Even still, the nearly two minutes of mindless movement on display still seems so otherworldly. What could be the cause of this fishy phenomenon?
Science Totally Has An Explanation
While the visual animated pieces of cleaved meat resembles a scene out of the Amityville kitchen, it actually has less to do with the supernatural and more to do with science! Though these slabs of soon-to-be sashimi lack the required brain and heart for most motor skills, they still possess cells with charged neurons that react to external stimuli. The cell membranes behave according to the laws of chemistry, maintaining a balance of sodium and potassium ions; when said balance is disrupted in a single cell, it launches a chain reaction down the line with similar cells. This causes the muscles to spasm on their own, without the help of other organs or a wandering spirit.
So relax! Or not, this stuff is complicated.
These Things Are Typically Avoided Via 'Ike Jime'
To avoid their next meal rise from the dead, Japanese fishermen developed a technique involving a simple wire. Known as ikijime, the process involves making an incision above the fish's head, exposing the spinal cord. Once the spine is visible, the wire is shoved from one end to the other, severing the nervous system. By doing so, not only do the muscles become less likely to spasm, they remain less likely to be affected by rigor mortis, which can ruin the quality of the flesh. When looking at the now famous yellowtail video, it stands to reason ikijime may have been performed improperly.