Do fish have consciousness? Some seem to know who feeds them
Scientific tests have shown that fishes can remember human faces and differentiate them from those of dozens of strangers. They can recognise other fishes, too, and some reef fishes (“cleaner fishes”) can discriminate between hundreds and possibly thousands of them. Fishes demonstrate sophisticated forms of learning and to survive in the wild they require numerous cognitive abilities in order to perform a variety of behaviours. As marine biologist Cait Newport stated in a recent article: “Even basic tasks like finding food or mates, or escaping from predators, can require memory and considerable intelligence.” There are fishes that cooperatively hunt with other species, which requires perception and planning. They also hide from others, which, as ethologist Donald R Griffin explained in his 1994 book Animal Minds, demonstrates selfawareness. Additionally, they are known to intentionally deceive others, indicating awareness of what others might think.
It’s easy to confuse consciousness with intelligent behaviours.
I believe that is because we tend to be most aware of our own behaviour when we have moments of deliberation and planning or while recollecting the past. However, the rational aspects of human/animal behaviour have been easiest to replicate without consciousness popping up (that we are aware of) – this is what the computing industry is built on.
We kept two goldfish, until the day came when we found one lifeless in the tank. His companion of so many years was gently nudging him, trying to make him move. People say if you are making a proper cup of tea you should keep the pot warm with a tea cosy. But if that’s correct, wouldn’t it be even better to keep the tea really warm by boiling it while it’s brewing?