Fish are self-aware? Cleaner fish seem to recognize themselves in the mirror
Chimpanzees, dolphins, crows, and magpies recognize their mirror image as a reflection of one’s own body. So far, this is considered evidence that these species have a consciousness of itself. Scientists from the Max-Planck-Institute for ornithology in Radolfzell and the University of Konstanz as well as the Osaka City University have now discovered that cleaner fish respond to their mirror image and try to remove the stains on your body, if you see this in the mirror. The results suggest that these fish have significantly higher intellectual abilities than previously thought. At the same time you trigger a discussion about how scientists, the intelligence of living beings can determine, the people are so different.
The classic mirror test, researchers highlight the face or other parts of the body of an animal with patches of color. To pass the Test, you must take the animals to the marked position, as well as, or in a targeted touch.
To check whether fish are able to recognize themselves in a mirror, the researchers examined the reaction of plaster fish (Labroides dimidiatus) on a mirror test. Cleaner fish live in oceans and feed on parasites on the skin of other fish. The scientists tagged the fish at a position of the body, which could only view them in the mirror. The Test was considered passed if the fish are rubbing the marked spot on a surface and try to remove the color.
In fact, the cleaner fish tried to remove the spots on your skin. The researchers provided the animals with spots, gave them no mirrors, responded the fish, however, just as in a transparent markings, which were not in the mirror visible. Cleaning fish don’t try in addition, at the sight of other selected congeners, to remove apparent stains on your own body. On patch directly on the mirror you choose not to respond. “All of these observations, we can exclude the possibility that the fish react instinctively to parasites, reminding one of the markings in their environment. Just the sight of spots on your own skin represents, therefore, a cleaning fish, a stimulus to which he reacts. Thus, the behaviour of the cleaner fish meets all the criteria for passing the mirror test,“ explains Alex Jordan at the Max-Planck-Institute for ornithology and the University of Konstanz.
The results show that cleaner fish have actually a awareness of Self – a property of the attributes so far, only a few mammals and birds? Or tests other skills are for the Existence of a Mirror necessary than previously thought? “Our observations leave little doubt that this fish meets with his behavior all the criteria for passing the mirror test. It is less clear, however, whether one can conclude that fish are self-aware, even if in the past, many animals have a Self-consciousness has been attributed to, after they had passed the mirror test,“ says Jordan.
The Argument that the behavior of the fish is clearly not enough, to speak of a passing of the mirror test, would undermine the overall credibility of the mirror testing out of the question. Finally, the cleaning of the fish during the Tests behave in a similar manner as other animals in the same experimental set-up. “The obvious explanation is that the fish do not exist, although the mirror test, but you are self-aware. Rather, they do not recognize their mirror image as an Image of their own body, understand what it means. So, we need to fail the mirror test critically and consider whether he should continue to be used as a Standard for Self-consciousness-the proof in the case of animals used,“ says Jordan. (pm)