Nemo & Dory Can Recognize Your Face – Study

Nemo & Dory Can Recognize Your Face – Study
Shinagawa Aquarium: Bandedarcher Fish Dick Thomas Johnson / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Apparently, it’s not only in animated films where a certain species of fish posses human-like behaviors such as facial recognition. A team of Australian scientists were able to train fishes such skill with high precision.


A study result published by NBC News shows that even fish can distinguish between two humans based on facial features, at 89 percent accuracy level. This, despite the absence of neocortex, the part of the brain present among humans and primates responsible for facial recognition.

According to the study conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia, archerfish (Toxotes chatareus) if trained, can effectively recognize humans based on their facial feature. The fish’s discriminative ability seemed unaffected even is the experimenter altered vital aspects of the stimulus (picture presented) such as color, brightness, and shape, among others.

The archerfish is known in the wild with their advanced visual faculties, which they need to catch their prey for food. The training involves a reward in a form of food pellets every time the fish gets the drill right.

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“There is evidence from a range of studies that some non-primate mammals can discriminate human faces. Species which have been tested include sheep, dogs, cows and horses,” the team wrote as quoted by NBC News.

In fact, an article from the National Geographic revealed that the Ambon damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis) also possess a special facial recognizing skill, which was initially thought a skill limited to humans.

According to the report, the fish can recognize the individual fish in its species accurately, just like humans do with fellow human beings, thanks to its ability to detect ultraviolet light. Researchers have discovered that each Ambon damselfish sports unique facial features only their fellow Ambon damselfish can recognize.

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