Those of you who still need convincing that
fish sea kittens are smarter than a 5-year-old should check out today’s New York Times. Molecular biologist and geneticist Sean B. Carroll writes about recent studies indicating that fish who inhabit coral reefs can learn to differentiate between targets marked with different designs and colors in order to obtain food. Other studies of coral-reef fish in their natural habitat show that fish are more drawn to “dummies” that closely resemble beneficial “cleaner fish” than to dummies with similar coloring but different markings.
If you can stand the cuteness, check out this photo of a teeny-tiny damselfish poking a target marked with an asterisk with his (or her) teeny-tiny nose.
Of course, it comes as no surprise to us here at Sea Kitten Central that fish are smart cookies. Previous studies have shown that fish have long-term memories and can learn to avoid nets by watching what other fish do. “[T]hey are capable of learning quickly,” says Dr. Chris Glass, director of marine conservation at the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Massachusetts. Dr. Phil Gee, a psychologist at the University of Plymouth in the U.K., says that fish can even tell what time of day it is: Dr. Gee trained fish to collect food by pressing a lever at specific times.
Still not convinced? You leave me no choice but to unleash … goldfish soccer.
Written by Alisa Mullins