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Scientists show self-awareness of fish

Researchers have tackled various criticisms, showing that fish L. dimidiatus actually has mirror self-awareness, suggesting that the effectiveness of animal self-awareness or mirror tests needs to be modified. .. Credit: Kohda Masanori

Mirror Self-Awareness (MSR) is considered evidence of self-awareness and passes a mark test where animals touch or rub marks on their bodies where they can only be seen indirectly in the mirror. Animal ability for MSR used to determine. Evidence that other animals, with the exception of chimpanzees, passed the mark test has been criticized and therefore not definitive. A team of international researchers, led by Masanori Kawada of the Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, said that fish have MSR capabilities by addressing criticisms of previous research on the cleaning fish, Labroid dimidiatus. Provided further evidence suggesting.


This new experiment was recently published PLOS Biology..

Professor Koda said, “Previously, I used brown markings on the throat of L. dimidiatus. We showed After swimming in front of the mirror, 3 out of 4 cleaning fish rub their throats several times. This is an equivalent number of similar studies done on other animals such as elephants, dolphins and magpies. ”

However, one of the criticisms of this result was the sample size and the need for repeated studies with positive results. In collaboration with researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Germany and the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, the study increased the sample size to 18 cleaner fish, of which 94% of 17 showed the same behavior as before. .. study.

But why is the brown mark? “After seeing similar studies conducted in monkeys, pigs, dogs, cats, etc. that were tested to be clearly negative, why these animals did not participate in the mark is what it is in the natural environment. I wondered if it was because they didn’t represent that, they would be worried. ” “In previous studies, we used the brown mark because it could look like a small parasite that is the main food source for L. dimidiatus.”

The criticism of this was that, along with seeing the brown mark in the mirror, the physical sensation of the mark could cause behavior that did not decisively suggest MSR. To address this, the team tested how the fish responded to physical throat stimuli by injecting brown marks to a depth of 3 mm (rather than 1 mm). At such depths, the marks were barely visible, but they found that deeper-injected fish rubbed their throats at the same rate, with or without a mirror. To further solidify the importance of using ecologically relevant marks on animals in MSR studies, the team found that fish injected with green or blue marks did not show scraping behavior. did.

Finally, some critics say L. I wondered if dimidiatus recognized the mirror image as itself rather than another fish. An animal trained in a mirror is an animal that is introduced into its own mirror image and goes through three steps. First, it expresses some kind of aggressive behavior because it is likely to perceive the mirror image as another animal. Then it shows an unnatural but non-aggressive movement to make sure the mirror image is not another animal. And finally, look at your body repeatedly without aggression. At this point, it is possible because MSR can see the mark and try to scrape it off.

“Our previous study showed L. dimidiatus MSR, but studies with other animals showed that moving the mirror rekindled aggressive behavior,” said Professor Koda. It was suggested that the animals only learned spatial contingency, not MSR. ”To deal with this, the team underwent mirror training. Cleaning fish I went to an aquarium with a mirror on one side of the tank, and three days later to an aquarium with a mirror on the other side, and saw the fish show no aggression towards the mirror image in both aquariums.

We also placed mirror-trained fish in an adjacent tank separated by clear glass to ensure that L. dimidiatus, who passed the mark test, really recognized himself. After a few days, the next night was marked in the standard way, when the fish significantly reduced their aggressive behavior towards each other. The next morning, none of the fish rubbed their throats while being exposed to each other for 120 minutes.

“This result suggests that visual and ecologically relevant stimuli to another fish are not sufficient to induce throat abrasions in the marked subject,” says Professor Kohda. .. “There is still a lot of work to be done, especially quantitatively, to show that fish and other animals have the ability of MSR, but as a result of this study, we repeat the conclusions of previous studies. .. Self-awareness For animals, or the effectiveness of the mirror test needs to be modified. ”


Do fish recognize themselves in the mirror?


For more information:
Further evidence of the importance of ecologically related marks to the ability of mirrors to recognize themselves in cleaner fish, PLOS Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pbio.3001529

Quote: Scientist self of fish (February 17, 2022) obtained from https: //phys.org/news/2022-02-scientists-self-awareness-fish.html on February 17, 2022 Shows recognition

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Scientists show self-awareness of fish

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