Scientist find fishes recognise themselves in pictures

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Mmm – maybe the mullet was a bad idea… but I do look brill! Excited scientists have found fish recognise themselves in pictures, just like people.

But they can only do it from faces – their bodies aren’t a factor as they would be for us.

It’s the first time the skill has been identified in creatures other than humans – and the researchers believe it could apply to other social vertebrates, from lions and killer whales to naked mole rats.

In a series of experiments so-called “cleaner” fish were presented with four snaps – one of themselves, an unfamiliar individual, their own face on another’s body, and vice versa.

They only attacked those with unknown faces. The study team think the reason lies in genes, with zebra fish, for instance, carrying 70 percent of the same genes as us – and 84 percent of those associated with human diseases.

This may have help find breakthroughs for issues including stroke, ADHD or even Alzheimer’s.

Lead researcher Professor Masanori Kohda, of Osaka Metropolitan University in Japan, revealed they also ruled out the possibility that the fish thought their own image was a pal.

He added: “This study is the first to demonstrate fish have an internal sense of self.”

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, adds to evidence that fish are far from stupid.

Last year German scientists showed they can do complex sums.

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