The time when humans considered animals as machines without brains or feelings is not yet completely over: some unfounded ideas, such as that fish have no memory (or even no brain) are still widespread.
Scientists have only been interested in the mental capacities of fish for a few years, but their discoveries are already immense. Whether they are wild or domesticated, many species of fish have proven to have a real form of intelligence, associated with a good memory, a capacity for learning, deduction and even playful behavior.
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What do fish think?
Fish are often seen as unintelligent animals. However, a study conducted suggests that some of them have a higher cognitive capacity than we thought. This could have implications for farming and industry if it turns out to be true.
Although it is assumed that only humans possess the ability to favor one hemisphere of the brain over the other depending on the task, many researchers believe that this ability may extend to many other animals, including fish, which would therefore be able to perform several complex activities simultaneously.
A fish remains a being with basic needs, to feed, sleep, avoid danger, in short, to survive! Their thoughts are therefore divided between the fact of surviving, if a threat faces them, their brain uses the necessary capacities to escape or find a solution to get out of it alive.
In the same way, if the fish need to eat, their brain is busy finding prey (mollusks, algae, or other fish), it is the same for the rest of their needs, simply!
Do fish have a memory?
Scientists are really convinced that fish are endowed with emotions, with consciousness, and this, for many reasons. For example, the brain of fish is small and is organized differently from that of mammals. But it has structures that come from the same origin, from an evolutionary point of view, as some of those of the mammalian brain.
These play a major role in the birth of emotions (the amygdala) and learning (the hippocampus). If these brain areas are damaged, similar behavioral effects are observed in fish and mammals, suggesting that they perform the same function.
Furthermore, a large body of research clearly demonstrates that fish have impressive learning abilities that they use to perform a wide range of sophisticated behaviors. Many fish species achieve navigational feats by recalling routes stored in their brains.
Others can determine how they can win a battle against other fish by observing and remembering previous conflicts with potential rivals. And some are even able to make and use tools like an anvil to open mollusk shells.
What do fish think of humans
It seems that species that have been domesticated for a long time have developed more familiar abilities, allowing them to interact with their companions… humans. This evolution has been observed in all species domesticated by humans: pets.
It has been proven that the most familiar of them, Koi carp, goldfish and fighting fish, perfectly recognize their “master”, the person who cares for them the most, and thus differentiate him from other people. These three species (and certainly many others) are also able to recognize the food box according to its color: if their food box is blue, the fish will get agitated at the sight of their box or another box with a similar color, while they will not react to a green or red box.
More surprisingly, some fish, like carp, appreciate being petted and will not hesitate to ask for their owner’s hand as soon as it is dipped in the water.