Scientists have trained a goldfish to drive

Can goldfish drive? Scientists have carried out a rather unusual study—they tested a fish's ability to move about on land. How? By driving around.

Scientists have trained a goldfish to drive
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Scientists have trained a goldfish to drive

The brains and reasoning of goldfish are greatly underestimated. After all, don't people say that they 'have the memory of a goldfish' whenever they have a memory lapse? But if dogs can drive, goldfish might be able to do it too. A team of scientists has just managed to prove that, by teaching these little creatures to drive from within their fishbowl. This was done to study the navigation abilities of this aquatic animal in a space they're unused to—dry land.

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Goldfish, able to find their way on land

The fish's brand-new car is a four-wheeled robotic cart equipped with a small computer and a LiDAR system, similar to radar. This system allows the goldfish to move the car according to its movements in the tank. Tests have shown that the fish took as little as 30 minutes to reach a given point, despite all obstacles in their way.

A fine performance for such an oft disregarded animal. In any case, these results convinced the scientists from Ben-Gurion University, who conducted the study, as one of them said in the journal Behavioral Brain Research.

These results show how a fish was able to transfer its spatial representation and navigation abilities to a totally different terrestrial environment.

An underestimated sense of direction

Better still, this study supports the hypothesis that there is indeed a 'universal, species-independent ability' to find one's way in a given space. In other words, goldfish have an unsuspected sense of direction, even outside their natural habitat.

At the beginning of the experiment, the fish were able to finish their run in 30 minutes, but the most experienced fish managed to reach the goal in less than a minute. This incredible feat serves as a counterexample to the idea that a goldfish is always swimming in circles without remembering that it has already been there! As we know, some fish are even able to help if they see one of their peers struggling to swim.

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