Cells in your ears beat to it.

Following up on my previous post about inner hair cells in the ear, I wanted to share this video. It’s of an outter hair cell, and the particulars are in the link, but the long and short is that these cells actually move to a beat. The cell in the video is actually moving in time with the music that you hear.

Incidentally, a professor of mine once explained to me that there are also neurons in the spinal cord/brain stem that fire alternating messages to your leg muscles when you hear a beat. Taking a bit of irresponsibly sensationalist license, I take this to mean that there are dance circuits set up in your legs. So next time you feel like dancing, don’t hide it, let nature take its course and do it unapologetically. Oddly, these neurons only fire on the off beat, which tells me that we should have seen the likes of jazz and bluegrass cropping up a lot earlier. Maybe classicists just didn’t listen to their legs enough.

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