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The Sagittarius is standing steeply with the body in the water, the mouth of the fish is barely visible, the tongue is pressed firmly against the upper palate - and zack! By squeezing the gill covers, the water rushes out of the mouth of the fish towards the victim in a steady stream. The ants, flies, beetles and other insects do not even know what is happening to them, they are already lying in the water and are eaten. As if this hunting technique wasn't fascinating enough, researchers from Oxford University have now found that the Sagittarius is also able to recognize humans - this is remarkable for animals with such a less complex brain.
Unusual: fish can distinguish human faces
It is definitely a great achievement for a small fish brain to be able to distinguish faces, especially from humans, i.e. living beings that are completely alien. "It is a surprisingly difficult task to distinguish between a large number of human faces, especially when you consider that the faces all have the same basis," explains Cait Newport from Oxford University. "All faces have two eyes, a nose and a mouth," said the researcher. This presupposes that a distinction must be made between certain subtleties - not that easy.
Just as the Sagittarius can shoot insects from leaves and blades of grass with deadly precision, it can remember faces with such precision. For a long time, scientists assumed that only humans and other primates, such as chimpanzees, can distinguish faces. The human brain has a specific region for this task - the so-called gyrus fusiformis, also called spindle swing. Sagittarius and many other small animals do not have this brain region, but can still differentiate.
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Sagittarius recognize familiar faces in the experiment
In the experiment, Newport and her colleagues presented the sniper fish with two human faces that the animals could remember. The sniper fish then shot at one of the faces and received a reward. In the next phase of the experiment, if the fish were shown dozens of other faces and only occasionally a picture of the two familiar faces was shown, the fish shot the familiar face in around 80 percent of the cases. In the video you can see the animals shooting out of the water at the superimposed faces:
The experiment shows that a complex brain is not a prerequisite for the ability to distinguish between faces. By the way: some birds and possibly also bees can distinguish faces.