AR-News: Fwd: Fw: [riverissues] Fish Intelligence

jim robertson wolfcrest at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 8 04:46:59 EDT 2003


> > SCIENTISTS HIGHLIGHT FISH 'INTELLIGENCE'
> > BBC News
> > Sunday, August 31, 2003
> >
> > http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/england/west_yorkshire/3189941.stm
> >
> > Fish are socially intelligent creatures who do not deserve their
>reputation
> > as the dim-wits of the animal kingdom, according to a group of leading
> > scientists.
> >
> > Scientists say fish do not deserve their "dim-witted" reputation
> > Rather than simply being instinct-driven, the group says fish are 
>cunning,
> > manipulative and even cultured.
> >
> > The three experts from the universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews and 
>Leeds
> > said there had been huge changes in science's understanding of the
> > psychological and mental abilities of fish in the last few years.
> >
> > Writing in the journal Fish and Fisheries, biologists Calum Brown, Keven
> > Laland and Jens Krause said fish were now seen as highly intelligent
> > creatures.
> >
> > They said: "Gone (or at least obsolete) is the image of fish as drudging
>and
> > dim-witted pea-brains, driven largely by 'instinct',' with what little
> > behavioural flexibility they possess being severely hampered by an
>infamous
> > 'three-second memory'.
> >
> > Behaviour patterns
> >
> > "Now, fish are regarded as steeped in social intelligence, pursuing
> > Machiavellian strategies of manipulation, punishment and reconciliation,
> > exhibiting stable cultural traditions, and co-operating to inspect
>predators
> > and catch food."
> >
> > Recent research had shown that fish recognised individual "shoal mates",
> > social prestige and even tracked relationships.
> >
> > Scientists had also observed them using tools, building complex nests 
>and
> > exhibiting long-term memories.
> >
> > The scientists added: "Although it may seem extraordinary to those
> > comfortably used to pre-judging animal intelligence on the basis of 
>brain
> > volume, in some cognitive domains, fishes can even be favourably 
>compared
>to
> > non-human primates."
> >
> > They said fish were the most ancient of the major vertebrate groups,
>giving
> > them "ample time" to evolve complex, adaptable and diverse behaviour
> > patterns that rivalled those of other vertebrates.
> >
> > "These developments warrant a re-appraisal of the behavioural 
>flexibility
>of
> > fishes, and highlight the need for a deeper understanding of the 
>learning
> > processes that underpin the newly recognised behavioural and social
> > sophistication of this taxon," said the scientists.
> >
> >

In fact, if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be 
cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the 
name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are 
at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.
-- Ruth Harrison, author of Animal Machines

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