Common Fish Species Has ‘Human’ Ability To Learn

By | June 17, 2009

http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/06/090616205515-large.jpgAlthough worlds apart, the way fish learn could be closer to humans’ way of thinking than previously believed, suggests a new research study.

A common species of fish which is found across Europe including the UK, called the nine-spined stickleback, could be the first animal shown to exhibit an important human social learning strategy. The sticklebacks can compare the behaviour of other sticklebacks with their own experience and make choices that lead to better food supplies, according to the study by St Andrews and Durham universities.

The researchers suggest these fish might have an unusually sophisticated social learning capability not yet found in other animals, called a ‘hill-climbing’ strategy.

This ability of picking the best quality food patch by comparing how successful others are at getting food from it against their personal experience has not been shown before in animals, say the scientists.

The team of researchers suggests that in the case of the nine-spined stickleback it is likely to be a case of ‘needs must’ as the anatomy of this particular species of fish does not offer significant protection from predators to forage alone safely.  …

The scientists say the findings, published in the academic journal Behavioral Ecology, show that the cognitive mechanisms underlying cumulative cultural evolution may be more prevalent in nonhuman animals than currently believed. The findings show that big brains, like those in humans, are not necessarily needed as a pre-requisite for cumulative culture.

via Common Fish Species Has ‘Human’ Ability To Learn.

2 thoughts on “Common Fish Species Has ‘Human’ Ability To Learn

  1. Ann

    “… the way fish learn could be closer to humans’ way of thinking than previously believed … ”

    Shouldn’t the finding of this study indicate not how these species of fish are “closer to humans,” but how humans are closer to fish?

    It was not until the 1500s or so humans began to realize that their earth was not center of the universe, of the solar system, that the earth is like other planets that revolve around the sun.

    It was not until the late 1800s Europeans, particularly the British, realized that their “civilization,” culture was not at the apex of humanity, that there are other cultures just as evolved as Europeans – it took Euro-Americans a little longer to figure that out about themselves.

    And, now with all the recent discoveries about the intelligence of animals in the wild, shouldn’t humans realize their humble place in the scheme of things on this planet?

    We are only a species of animal with God forsaken ability to make tools and by doing so destroy the ourselves and the planet we inhabit, … perhaps because we still haven’t fathomed our place in the scheme of things.

  2. Dov Henis

    Of Human Conceitedness And Scientific Staleness

    A. Pearls from “Common fish species has ‘human’ ability to learn”
    http://www.physorg.com/news164423377.html

    – “The findings show that big brains, like those in humans, are not necessarily needed as a pre-requisite for cumulative culture.”

    – “The researchers say the findings contribute to the understanding of brain evolution and the types of brain required for certain cognitive functions, both in humans and animals.”

    – “But our results suggest brain size isn’t everything when it comes to the capacity for social learning.”

    – “These fish are obviously not at all closely related to humans, yet they have this human ability to only copy when the pay off is better than their own. You might expect this ability in animals who are closely related to humans. In the case of the nine-spined stickleback, they have most likely adapted to their local ecology.”

    B. About time for life sciences to assimilate, to internalize, that it is culture that drives genetics, NOT genetics that drives culture,

    starting with search-surfing “Dov Henis : It is culture that drives genetics, not genetics that drives culture”

    Suggesting,

    Dov Henis
    (Comments From The 22nd Century)
    http://profiles.yahoo.com/blog/2SF3CJJM5OU6T27OC4MFQSDYEU
    Origin Of Origins
    http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/160/122.page#2753

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