An artist's representation shows the midshipman fish singing to attract a mate.
Click on image for full size
Original Illustration by Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation
Scientists Discover Fish that Talk
News story originally written on July 17, 2008
Have you ever had a chat with a fish? We used to think that only cartoon fish could talk. But now scientists have figured out that fish really can talk. It’s not the same language that people use, but fish are able to hum and grunt. The hums and grunts let them talk with other fish.
Scientists studied the brain cells of fish larvae that just hatched . In the fish brains, they found the same sort of brain cells that allow humans to talk. These are also the same type of brain cells that let birds sing and frogs “ribbit”.
Scientist Andrew Bass says that this research "sends a message to scientists and non-scientists about the importance of this group of animals to understanding behavior; to understanding the nervous system; and to understanding just how important social communication is--among them, as it is among ourselves."
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. Adam Kent, a geologist at Oregon State University, says this...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core. The mantle is made up of many different reservoirs that have different chemical compositions. Scientists...more
Some faults look strong and like they wouldn’t cause an earthquake. But it turns out that they can slip and slide like weak faults causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults...more
The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more
Studying tree rings doesn't only tell us the age of that tree. Tree rings also show what climate was like while the tree was alive. This means that tree rings can tell us about climates of the past. Two...more
Earth's first life form may have developed between the layers of a chunk of mica sitting like a multilayered sandwich in primordial waters, according to a new hypothesis. The mica hypothesis, which was...more
Acid rain is what happens when some types of air pollution is washed out of the sky by rain. Power plants, factories, farms, houses, and cars all put pollution into the atmosphere. Sometimes, this pollution...more