London, Aug 31 : Fish are just as intelligent as mammals, claims a leading researcher.
While owls and foxes are known for their wisdom, the humble goldfish is famous for its ignorance, swimming contentedly around its bowl as its memory was wiped every three seconds.
But, according to Dr Mike Webster of St Andrews University, the stereotype of a goldfish with a three second memory is a myth.
The researcher claims that he has discovered that fish show a high level of intelligence when they are in danger.
"A lot of people have this stereotype image of a goldfish with a three second memory and that's not the case at all," Telegraph quoted Dr Webster, as saying.
"It is probably accurate to say that many fishes such as minnows, sticklebacks and guppies are capable of the same intellectual feats as rats or mice," the researcher added.
To reach the conclusion, Dr Webster carried out a series of experiments to show how minnows escape being eaten by predators by using techniques of shared learning.
He discovered that a solitary fish separated from the shoal by a clear plastic divider, will make its own decisions when there is no threat.
But when a predator was placed in the shared pool, the single fish took its cue on how to act by watching the other fish.
The biologist said: "These experiments provide clear evidence that minnows increasingly rely on social learning as the basis for their foraging decisions as the perceived threat of a predator increases."