Thursday, 5 September 2013

Goldfish, the classical music aficionados: The famously forgetful fish can distinguish between Bach and Stravinsky, study shows

  • Fish able to distinguish composers around three quarters of the time
  • They even developed personal tastes, claims study by Japanese team
Goldfish may be forgetful, but when it comes to classical music, it seems they know what they like.

They can distinguish between a piece by 18th century German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and one by 20th century Russian Igor Stravinsky, a study found.

Japanese researchers played goldfish Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. They trained four of them to bite a red bead on hearing one piece, but not the other.

Professor Sigeru Watanabe, from the department of psychology at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, said goldfish have evolved to develop similar hearing mechanisms as seemingly far more complex animals.

He said: ‘Humans... can easily recognise and enjoy a variety of types of music.

‘Several studies have investigated whether these properties of music exist in non-human animals.

‘Goldfish are known as a hearing specialist species, since they have evolved a structure to enhance auditory signals detected by the inner ear.

‘This suggests that goldfish have evolved specific features for hearing and can recognise complex auditory stimuli similar to those recognised by modern vertebrates.’

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