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Natural World

Fish could be as intelligent as chimpanzees

November 12, 2017 | Comment icon 19 comments



Fish may be more intelligent than we think. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Wise Hok Wai Lum
Scientists have found evidence to suggest that some fish can use a form of rudimentary sign language.
Incredible footage recorded by the BBC for David Attenborough's wildlife series Blue Planet II shows an octopus working together with a grouper fish to catch a smaller fish hiding in amongst the coral.

The grouper, being too large to follow its prey in to small hiding places, sits in front of the target and uses a combination of color changes and movements to signal to an octopus to come and help.

The octopus then pokes its slender tentacles in to the hole to flush the smaller fish out.
The footage will be broadcast this week as part of the series' third episode 'Reef'.

"When I first saw it, I was blown away," said scientist and cameraman Dr Alex Vail.

"What's fascinating is there seems to be intention behind it. The grouper has formulated a plan and is aware of what the outcome might be, and then carries it out. Which shows a similar level of intelligence as chimpanzees. And that's without anything like the same brainpower."

Source: Telegraph | Comments (19)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by papageorge1 5 years ago
As an aquarium owner for many years I already believed fish were smarter than science understands. If I've done something like a new feeding method in the tank only a couple of times they seem to know the procedure in future times. This seems more so for longer-lived species.
Comment icon #11 Posted by _KB_ 5 years ago
Well they don't wage war on their own kin so they're bound to be smarter than humans... yeah i said it
Comment icon #12 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
I think we need to check the cockroach as well. They seem pretty smart. They always hide when they know I see one because they already know what happens next if they don't.
Comment icon #13 Posted by oldrover 5 years ago
All the fish round here have been to university. Especially the bass, they're all engaged in post doctoral studies.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Timonthy 5 years ago
They pretty much all eat whatever they can, including each other. Everything is just evolutionary survival. Do you know what a fish is?
Comment icon #15 Posted by _KB_ 5 years ago
yes, though I've never seen a flounder eat a flounder, and sharks (and other carnivorous species)usually don't eat other members of their own species, just the other ones
Comment icon #16 Posted by Bunzilla 5 years ago
I'll believe it. When we owned Koi, we saw many examples of just how smart they could be. One of the older fish that we'd named 'Sparkles' (yes, I know), used to herd up all the younger koi at feeding time, and make sure they all got enough to eat before allowing the other older koi to come in and eat. People used to look at me like I was crazy when I told them that, but this was a regular occurrence. Every day. There were also two koi that where friends. They were always together. Which made it rather heartbreaking when a stupid heron came along and ate one of them. The other one was never th... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by spud the mackem 5 years ago
Incorrect I've just watched a David Attenbrough program where young sharks were swimming about then along came a 10 foot Bull Shark which ate 2 small ones, they are mobile rubbish skips that eat whatever is available, we caught and opened one up and inside was a crushed coke can and a car number plate.
Comment icon #18 Posted by oldrover 5 years ago
I had a koi called Sparkles, but we changed it's name to Emma.
Comment icon #19 Posted by _KB_ 5 years ago
in that case i was misinformed and owe my old biology teacher a strongly worded email


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