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The 6 Most Baffling Science Experiments Ever Funded

We tend to think of scientists as mature, somber, finely tuned thought machines to be regarded with awe and respect. But scientists are only human, and some humans are just plain crazy. Which is why, on occasion, those serious old men in their fine white coats up and throw sense straight out the window, and we wind up with experiments such as ...

#6. Coked-Up Rats and Jazz

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Researchers at Albany Medical College placed a group of rats in an experimental sound room and proceeded to play one of Miles Davis' more famous songs, "Four" -- presumably because, like most people in college, they were incredibly high and it seemed like a funny thing to do at the time. The song played continuously on a loop for 90 minutes, after which the scientists switched from jazz to classical, treating the rodents to Beethoven's "Fur Elise."

Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
"We tried playing Drake's 'Successful,' but too many rats committed suicide."

When the researchers turned the music off, they discovered that the rats much preferred silence over any music, but if forced to choose, would go with "Fur" over "Four." And that probably would have been the end of it -- congratulations to all, we've scientifically proven that rats aren't very good music critics -- but then, in keeping with our "all scientists are just bored stoners in white coats" theory, the researchers brought in some cocaine.

For the rats.

David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
Mostly.

The rats were injected with cocaine for seven consecutive days, after which they suddenly couldn't get enough Miles Davis. So there you go. Rats, pretentious Brooklyn kids, and that guy driving a Porsche to Whole Foods: They all agree that cocaine and jazz are just the best.

#5. Chickens Don't Like Ugly People

Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Dr. Stefano Ghirlanda at the Zoology Institution of Stockholm University set out to disprove the mate-quality hypothesis, which states that physical attraction to others is inherited due to genes, rather than learned.

Mmm, that sounds nice and sciency, doesn't it? We're sure that's how Ghirlanda describes his work to swooning coeds, but here's the slightly less impressive reality: Ghirlanda accomplished this studious feat by gathering horny chickens and showing them photographs of people to see which ones they pecked.

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Nothing says "do me" like piercing your partner's skin.

Ghirlanda took 35 pictures of females and 35 pictures of males and mashed them together to create digitally altered average male and female faces. After cocks pecked the girl (as is their wont) and hens went after the guy, researchers then created seven different faces by morphing the average female and male ratios and showed them to the chickens again.

Elsewhere, a group of college students were asked to rate those same faces on a scale of 0 to 10, and get this: The preferences of the college students matched the chickens' a whopping 98 percent of the time!

Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images
"You can make a deal breakers list all you want, your turn-ons are still the same as an animal that can live with no head."

So there you go: Definitive proof that there is absolutely no difference between a college student and a horny chicken. Thanks for putting that age-old quandary to bed, Science!

#4. See-Through Animals

MBARI

In what was probably the first phase of animal breeding experimentation that will eventually end with some sort of giant monster running amok in Tokyo, researchers from the Japanese universities of Mie and Nagoya spent two years developing, among other things, this Hellraiser goldfish.

AFP via DailyTech
"The box. You opened it, we came."

Scientists carefully plucked out a certain string of mutant hatchery goldfish and bred them together to create the above goldfish with completely transparent skin. The fish are perfectly healthy and can live up to 20 years, or until you solve the golden puzzle box and send them back to their fiendish netherworld.

But we're not stopping there! Why, Science hasn't even BEGUN to piss in the eye of God! The Japanese have also bred a clear frog ...

Ho New/Reuters via National Geographic
"Hey, this means you won't have to kill us and cut open our corpses in biology class anymore! Right? Guys?"

... which was actually an accident. They'd initially set out to create glowing frogs by attaching fluorescent protein to certain stretches of their DNA. But when the adult glowing frogs mated, they produced transparent offspring. The scientists were astounded to realize that they had essentially just produced a new species by genetically altering the previous generation -- which we're pretty sure was the plot of Prometheus, come to think of it.

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