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What if goldfish were able to drive?

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Often mocked for its memory, the goldfish will have many other unsuspected abilities. An Israeli study (source 1) reveals one of them. Researchers at Ben-Gurion University have found that innate navigational abilities of a goldfish allowed him to… steer a vehicle towards a target if it received a food reward.

To reach this conclusion, the scientists placed the fish bowl on a device with motorized wheels. “A camera system then recorded the movements of the fish in the water and translated it into sailing directions, effectively moving the gear in the direction the fish hit the glass,” the study details. A video, released by the University, shows the fish directing the vehicle towards a colored mark placed on the wall of the hall. An aptitude acquired after a few days of training.

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Good… and bad drivers

“Amazingly, it doesn’t take long for the fish to learn to drive the vehicle. At first they are confused. They don’t know what is going on, but they realize very quickly that there is a correlation between their movement and the movement of the machine they’re in,” said researcher Shachar Givon. As a sign of congratulations, the goldfish received a food reward. These findings were published in the journal Behavioral Brain Research.

Six goldfish participated in this study and received a dozen “driving lessons”. As with humans, some fish have more driving skills: “There were very good fish that did very well and there were poor fish that showed control of the vehicle but were less proficient at driving it” , explained biology professor and neuroscientist Ronen Segev. A new discovery that may allow scientists broaden their knowledge of animals.

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On video: It’s in the news: a goldfish driving a car?

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