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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stingrays are clever and use water as a tool

Freshwater stingrays use water as a "tool" in problem-solving tests, scientists have found.

Researchers gave South American freshwater stingrays tests and found they learned to use jets of water as a tool to extract a meal of hidden food from a plastic pipe.

It reveals that the fish, once thought a "simple reflex animal", have a bit more about them than first thought.

In his research paper abstract, Dr Michael Kuba who led the scientific research wrote: "Testing the cognitive abilities of cartilaginous fishes is important in understanding the evolutionary origins of cognitive functions in higher vertebrates. We used five South American fresh water stingrays in a learning and problem-solving task. All five subjects quickly learned to use water as a tool to extract food from the testing apparatus. The experimental protocol, which gave the animals the opportunity of correcting a wrong visual cue decision, resulted in four out of five subjects correcting an error rather than making an initial right choice. One of five subjects reached 100% correct trials in the visual discrimination task. The ability to use water as an agent to extract food from the testing apparatus is a first indication of tool use in batoid fishes."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what about: a hot bath doesn't hold the same appeal as a cold quarry