UPDATE: the publisher has agreed to replace the erroneous passage with the following sentence: “Fish authority Jonathan Balcombe views the morality of fish-eating as a serious matter, and he abstains from eating animals, fish included.” Jonathan’s book “What a Fish Knows” is now cited in Nussbaum’s book and included in […]
A study recently published in a prestigious journal reports a surprise finding: that jumping spiders twitch during sleep in a way that resembles what cats, dogs and other mammals do during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The German researchers noticed eye movements happening at the same time as leg jerks, […]
First Published: May 15th, 2016 – The New York Times
In March, two marine biologists published a study of giant manta rays responding to their reflections in a large mirror installed in their aquarium in the Bahamas. The two captive rays circled in front of the mirror, blew bubbles and performed unusual body movements as if checking their reflection. They made no obvious attempt to interact socially with their reflections, suggesting that they did not mistake what they saw as other rays.
The scientists concluded that the mantas seemed to be recognizing their reflections as themselves.
Mirror self-recognition is a big deal. It indicates self-awareness, a mental attribute previously known only among creatures of noted intelligence like great apes, dolphins, elephants and magpies. We don’t usually think of fishes as smart, let alone self-aware.