This fish can recognize human faces

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fish recognize human faces - archerfish

Fishes are generally considered to be not very intelligent creatures, but maybe this is not fair accusation. According to a new study, one species of fish- archerfish is able to recognize human faces. Researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia, and the University of Oxford have found that archerfish can be trained to recognize different people with very high accuracy, despite the lack of a visual cortex.

Although the brains of archerfish does not contain neocortex, the researchers found that archerfish is able to recognize specific human face of possible 44 persons.

How researchers are sure about that?

You may know that the archerfish is able to shoot a jet of water from its mouth to catch their prey. In working with the fishes researchers led them to “choose” a person from a group of people and bombard him with a jet of water. This fish not only chooses a person, but even manages to identify them, even when one element of the person’s look is  missing, for example the shape of the head.

The fish had an accuracy of 81% in identifying – a percentage that increased with the second experiment.

This discovery questions the need of specific brain section that homo sapiens and other “smart” animals use for distinguish human faces.

Being able to distinguish between a large number of human faces is surprisingly difficult task mainly due to the fact that all human faces have the same basic characteristics. All people have two eyes above the nose and the mouth, so to be able to recognize people, we should be able to find subtle differences in their visions. If we take into consideration the similarities in appearance between some family members, this task can be really overwhelming.

“We were pleasantly surprised at the speed at which the fish learnt as well as their high degree of accuracy,” said study co-author Cait Newport of the Oxford University’s department of zoology.

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