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An artist's representation shows the midshipman fish singing to attract a mate.
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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."

Last modified August 8, 2008 by Lisa Gardiner.

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