Goldfish can drive fish tank on wheels, Israel study finds

Goldfish can drive fish tank on wheels, Israel study finds


Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in southern Israel found that a goldfish's innate navigational abilities allow
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in southern Israel found that a goldfish’s innate navigational abilities allowed it to steer a vehicle towards a target if given a food reward.

Goldfish may have short memories but, according to an Israeli university study, they might be able to drive.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev found that a goldfish’s innate navigational abilities allowed it to steer a robotic vehicle towards a terrestrial target if given a food reward.

To conduct their unusual experiment, the team placed a fish tank on a set of motorized wheels.

A camera system then recorded the fish’s movements in the water and translated it into navigational directions—effectively moving the contraption in the direction where the fish bumped up against the glass.

In a video released by the university, the fish can be seen “driving” the vehicle toward a visual target, a colorful mark on the wall of the experiment room, visible through the clear sides of the tank.

When the fish steered the vehicle to the mark, it received a food reward.

“After a few days of training, the fish navigated to the target,” the university team said.

“Moreover, they were able to do so even if they were interrupted in the middle by hitting a wall and they were not fooled by false targets placed by the researchers.”

The peer-reviewed research, published in the Behavioural Brain Research journal, “hints that navigational ability is universal rather than specific to the environment,” said Shachar Givon, a PhD student at the university’s Life Sciences department who worked on the experiment.


Goldfish taught to drive little land vehicle to desired targets


More information:
Shachar Givon et al, From fish out of water to new insights on navigation mechanisms in animals, Behavioural Brain Research (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2021.113711

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Goldfish can drive fish tank on wheels, Israel study finds (2022, January 12)
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