Goldfish are indeed capable of driving a vehicle. This is the conclusion of a study by Israeli researchers on the ability of this species to adapt to guide itself in a terrestrial environment. In a study published in the February edition of the peer-reviewed Behavioral Brain Research journal, researchers at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev Desert created a device that allows a large goldfish swimming in a aquarium, itself placed on a robotic rolling platform, to move around.
The researchers had attached cameras tracking the movement of the fish and linked to a computer guiding the vehicle. When the goldfish went to the front part of the aquarium, the vehicle moved forward and when the fish remained in the rear part, the vehicle remained stationary, specify the researchers, who uploaded a video of this singular “ordered vehicle by a fish ”.
The fish were tasked to “drive” the vehicle towards a visual target in the terrestrial environment, which was observable through the walls of the tank. Indeed, the goldfish were able to explore the terrestrial environment, all while avoiding dead-ends and correcting inaccuracies. pic.twitter.com/RxPuzFbxkE
— Ronen Segev (@ronen_segev) January 3, 2022
Even with dead ends
To refine their research, Israeli scientists placed a target outside the vehicle. When the goldfish managed to reach the target, it received 0.002 grams of food granule in its aquarium as a reward, says the study funded by public funds and which followed local protocol in terms of respect for animals.
After a few days, the fish managed to reach the target without going astray, “no matter where it started from” and “avoiding dead ends”, points out the study concluding that goldfish have the “ability to transfer his spatial representation and his navigation capacities in a terrestrial environment completely different “from his own.