Remember that old myth about how a fish has a memory span of about 3 seconds? Well for the past several years, scientist have proved that they can remember things longer than a few seconds, and in fact, a fish’s memory can last up to five months or longer depending on the species.

But what can they remember? Well a new study about the archerfish, shows how they can distinguish a human face that they know from out of a dozen others.

Because of their tiny brains, we might not think much about the mental capacity of a fish, especially when compared to larger animals because of their small brains in relation to their body size.

This research was conducted by scientists from the University of Oxford and the University of Queensland, and appeared in a report by CNN

archerfish human face recognition

The archerfish is known for preying on insects on the land by accurately spewing a stream of water on its victim up to 6 ft away in some cases. Scientists decided to exploit this natural behavior from the fish and trained them to spit at images of human faces.

Whenever the archerfish shot water at a picture the scientist wanted them to on a computer screen, they rewarded the creature with food each time to train them. When it came time for testing, the researchers gathered up to 44 images of people, and the fish, 86% of the time with accuracy, spat the correct faces.

An astonishing achievement, that comes as a surprise to some. Maybe fishes aren’t as incompetent as many of us think they are. Clearly they are able to process and store information in their memory more accurately than once thought. It also shows that your pet goldfish probably knows who your are when you come into the room, which might make you appreciate him just a bit more.


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