Fish Can Recognise Human Faces

Archer Fish (Toxotes jaculatrix) at the Louisville Zoo. Image: BY-SA 3.0/Ltshears
It’s enough to make this writer seriously consider vegetarianism: A new study has found that fish can recognise human faces.

By Victoria Turk | MOTHERBOARD

The paper, published in Scientific Reports, found that archerfish—a tropical species that can shoot water jets from its mouth—could learn to distinguish an image of an individual human’s face from others, even when the pictures were controlled for colour and head shape.

Lead author Cait Newport said that the motivation of the work was to better understand how humans recognise faces. She explained that there are two theories on how human facial recognition works: One suggests that this skill relies on complex and specialised brain circuitry such as that in the human neocortex; the other suggests that it’s a learned skill that doesn’t necessarily need this brain structure.

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