Experiment: Do fish recognize themselves in the mirror?

It is very strange to be aware, but the ability to recognizemirroring your face is a very rare skill in the animal kingdom. People are able to recognize themselves from about 15 months of age - some species of monkeys, elephants and even birds are also capable of this. Researchers from universities in Germany, Romania and Japan decided to find out whether such a skill in fish and, moreover, whether they have a sense of self-awareness. The result of the experiment surprised them so much that they did not fully believe in it.

The experiment was conducted on fish of the genus Gubana,which are common in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The researchers took a few fish and marked them in the head area, which can only be seen in the mirror image. The idea was to find out if the fish could recognize themselves and try to erase the mark.

When one of the fish saw its reflection and beganrubbing on hard surfaces to remove the trail, the researchers were very surprised. This was the first hint that the fish understand when there is a congener in front of them, and when - a mirror. To ensure the purity of the experiment, the researchers put transparent marks on their foreheads - the fish didn’t do anything, which means that for the first time they were guided exactly by reflection, and didn’t feel the mark by other organs of touch. The researchers also tried to deceive the fish by drawing a mark on the aquarium - the fish also did not react to them.

The fact that the fish passed the mirror test is sosurprised researchers that they doubt its results. According to one of the authors of the work of Alex Jordan, even though the fish reacted to the reflection, this does not mean that they have self-awareness. According to him, the fish rather recognize their own body in the reflection, but it’s nothing to do with fully understanding oneself.

It is noteworthy that the marine life is really very smart. For example, the cognitive abilities of dolphins can be found in our special material.

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