Fish don’t just drink water: researchers at New York University immersed small zebrafish in an ethanol bath to observe their behavior under the influence of alcohol. The aim of the experiment was not to see if they still swam straight after this ethyllic bath, but to observe the behavior of drunk fish immersed in a water bath with their sober counterparts.
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Can a fish be drunk?
Yes, this is particularly the case with goldfish, which are able to hold the alcohol they produce for 6 months. This is far superior to any human being!
Under certain conditions, goldfish can synthesize their own ethanol. They can do it in extreme conditions, when there is not enough oxygen. The alcohol will replace the oxygen and allow them to continue to live. This condition can last up to 6 months, but it is not without loss…
Indeed, if goldfish can thus “breathe” alcohol, it is not without risk for them. As said before, the production of alcohol is an extreme natural defense mechanism. Alcohol is a less good source of energy than oxygen. And therefore, goldfish can disable some of their body functions, such as sight, at will.
What happens when a fish is drunk?
The fish under the influence of alcohol began to swim much faster than they normally would. They even doubled their speed in the presence of their peers. And their peers followed suit, much to the astonishment of the researchers.
“These results are very surprising, who conducted the research. It’s clear that the non-alcoholic fish were swimming at the same speed as the fish that had been exposed to alcohol.”
What’s the reason drunk fish swim faster?
Scientists believe that the reason fish swim faster after an alcohol bath is because, like humans, alcohol disinhibits them, but also because the excitement of being in an environment with other fish drives them to hyperactivity.
The desire to interact with other fish could also be stimulated by alcohol. In any case, the researchers believe that these findings could provide a better understanding of how the environment changes the attitude of a drunk person.
For example, an uninhibited attitude could lead to a form of leadership in the group. The same is true of dangerous behaviors that are encouraged by alcohol: they could be similar to a form of power over the group. These first results will be studied in greater depth to better understand the interactions between a drunk person and those around him.