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First photo of a fish using tools!

While diving on Great Barrier Reef in AustraliaScott Gardner, he heard a strange crackling sound. Curious, he swam in the direction the sound was coming from to check what was making it. To his surprise, it turned out that the culprit was a garfish (Choerodon schoenleinii), which was holding a mussel in its mouth and
Published: July 17, 2011 - 18:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 07:15
First photo of a fish using tools!

cwanarba

While diving on Great Barrier Reef in AustraliaScott Gardner, he heard a strange crackling sound. Curious, he swam in the direction the sound was coming from to check what was making it. To his surprise, it turned out that the culprit was a garfish (Choerodon schoenleinii), which was holding a mussel in its mouth and hitting the rock with it.

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The clever fish, after not too long, broke open the shell and devoured the mussel inside. After finishing its meal, it spit out the remains of the shell and calmly swam away in a direction it only knew. Fortunately, the diver, surprised by the whole situation, had a camera with him and with its help he managed to capture the whole situation. This is how the first photo was taken, where a fish in its natural environment uses “tools”.

The use of objects, such as tools, to facilitate everyday life has long been known to be the domain of humans and is indicative of the intellectual superiority of the species homo sapiens. In recent decades, however, similar behaviour has been observed in many animal species. Although our position as intellectual leaders is not threatened, as the years go by, more and more representatives of the animal kingdom join the list of those who facilitate their lives with the help of elements of inanimate matter surrounding them.

Until recently, it was believed that fish have limited cognitive abilities. This was mainly due to the little research material available to scientists and the fact that, in their natural environment, they are rather difficult to study and, hence, have little information on their behaviour and habits.

The photos, taken on an Australian reef, are the first to document this type of behaviour in fish. However, the precision and skill with which the Choerodon handled the shell indicate that it was nothing new for it. It is likely that the whole incident will draw more attention from the scientific world, to study further behaviour and try to better understand marine creatures.

Source: sciencemag.org
Photo: Scott Gardner

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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