Sunday, May 15, 2016

Feelings

Fish have them too, says Jonathan Balcome in the NYT. He makes a good case for some fish being pretty smart, and having stress response similar to our own.

At low tide, frillfins hide in rocky tide pools. If danger lurks — a hungry octopus, say — the goby will jump to a neighboring tide pool, with remarkable accuracy. How do they avoid ending up stranded on the rocks?

A series of captive experiments dating from the 1940s found something remarkable. They memorize the tide pool layout while swimming over it at high tide. They can do it in one try, and remember it 40 days later. So much for a fish’s mythic three-second memory.

And big brained manta rays appear to recognize themselves in mirrors - a feat matched only by the brightest mammals. Some fish even use tools, and others recognize friendly divers and will come over for strokes.

That could spoil my dinner.