Is math not really your forte? At the risk of disappointing you, some fish may even be better at it than you! Here is the result of an edifying study of the computational skills of freshwater animals.
Not only bees, birds or monkeys are good at math, some fish are too. This Thursday, March 31, a surprising study was published in the journal Scientific Reports† We discover that the stingray (Potamotrygon engine) and blue zebrafish (Maylandia zebra) are budding mathematicians. And rightly so, these two species that live in freshwater can memorize symbols and perform simple calculations such as addition and subtraction.
An educational study
To conduct this research, German experts conducted a clever experiment using color code: adding 1 for a card with blue patterns and subtracting 1 for a card with yellow designs. Example: If the fish saw a card with 3 blue shapes, they had to swim to the card with 4 blue shapes. On the contrary, if they saw 4 yellow patterns, they had to move to the card with 3 yellow shapes. In total, 6 out of 8 zebrafish and 3 out of 8 rays passed the experiment.
This finding speaks to the intelligence of fish, as the scientists explain: “It seems clear then that their cognitive abilities and their status as sentient beings urgently need to be overhauled”especially since these animals are currently still referred to as “lower” vertebrates.
Why do you think these freshwater fish are novice mathematicians? For researchers, these skills would be of great use for survival. Indeed, it would allow them to quickly spot predators and hunt for food. But for now these are just guesses…
A precious study that recalls the importance of protecting these so-called ‘primitive’ species.