Scientists Successfully Taught Goldfish How to Drive
Here’s an early nominee for weirdest study of the year: A team of scientists in Israel have successfully taught goldfish how to DRIVE. (???)
They wanted to see if fish could learn to navigate on land. So they built a small, robotic vehicle with a fish tank on it. And they put wheels on the bottom, so it could move in any direction. They called it an “F.O.V.” or “Fish Operated Vehicle.”
A special camera on top tracked how the fish moved, and translated it into directions for the little fish-car they were in. So if they swam toward one side of the tank, the whole thing would go that direction at about one mile per hour.
Next, they put it in a room with a big target on one of the walls. And if it could make it to the target, they’d reward it with food.
It took the goldfish a few days to learn how. But they eventually got pretty good at driving, and could basically do a straight line right to the target. Researchers ultimately taught six different goldfish to drive, so it wasn’t a fluke.
They say the point of the study was to learn more about how our brains navigate terrain we’re not used to.
They also wanted to see if fish are smart enough to learn complex tasks like that, and it looks like they are.