When you get home from work, your dog or cat is always happy to see you — even if your cat hides it better than your dog does.
But according to a new study, your pet fish may very well be happy to see you, too. Or at least they definitely know who you are.
A group of researchers found that fish can recognize a familiar face with a high degree of accuracy. The scientists tested their theory of “fish-ial” recognition by showing their subjects faces and training them to spit bubbles at the familiar one.
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Scientists presented archerfish with several dozen photos of other human faces in addition to the face they wanted the fish to learn.
- A whopping 81 percent of the time, the fish got the face right.
- And when the photos were switched to black-and-white versus color and had the head shapes evened out? The fish nailed it 86 percent of the time.
We’re not sure what this research will lead to because it’s very preliminary. But archerfish seem to also have a sense of humor: “When strangers walk into [the] lab, the fish act skittish,” says Dr. Cait Newport, co-author of the study. “When I walk in, they start spitting at me — many cases right in the eye.”
Here’s a video showing more about the archerfish’s fascinating spitting accuracy:
Who knows? Maybe pet fish do know and love us — they just don’t all have the ability to shoot bubbles like an archerfish.