Study: Fish Have Feelings, Too
Just another reason to avoid eating pescatarian: a new study has found that fish have emotions.
The study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that zebrafish responded to stress by an increase in body temperature, or what it known as an “emotional fever.” It’s been suggested that such a thing only exists in mammals, birds and reptiles, but the new research proves otherwise.
Scientists placed six zebrafish groups in tanks divided by plexiglass into six chambers, each containing water of a different temperature. Each tank was connected, so the fish were able to access them all and then were allowed to acclimatize to the water overnight. Then the scientists confined three groups of fish using a small net, which brought on stress. Afterwards, they released the fish into the central chamber and examined their movements.
According to the study, the results were “striking.” The researchers found that while the unconfined groups remained where they were, the stressed zebrafish spent significantly more time at higher temperatures, which led to an estimated rise in body temperature, and therefore an emotional fever.
“This finding,” they wrote, “removes a key argument for lack of consciousness in fishes.”
Though previous studies have shown that fish, despite their small size, are pretty smart when it comes to using tools, navigating waters and recognizing social hierarchy, this is the first time research has suggested they are also sentient beings.
It just goes to show that fish should remain in the ocean.