We’ve all heard that goldfish only have a three second memory and thus it’s ok to eat them, live, while your’e inebriated and in Pittsburgh. Well, a 15-year old student in Southern Australia has turned that assumption on its head by proving goldfish have much more powerful memories than previously known. Alright, let me explain.
In college, my buddies and I used to…
…take a road trip up to the University of Pittsburgh for their Goldfish Party, an annual get together where a frat house was filled with thousands of goldfish scattered around in those little aquarium bags. Inevitably, the event would turn into a total massacre, where frat guys would challenge one another to eat the most live goldfish. I always thought that this practice was morally acceptable because the frat guys were slightly more intelligent than the goldfish and thus, higher up on the food chain. Turns out I might have been wrong.
Billy Clarington? It’s me, Joey Carr! How are you? I haven’t seen you in years.
Rory Stokes, from the Australian Science and Mathematics School in Adelaide, used a basic experiment to turn the conventional goldfish wisdom on its head. First he taught the goldfish to associate a beacon in their water with food. He then removed the beacon from the water for six days. Lo and behold, when he returned the beacon to the water almost a week later, the fish swam right to it, proving that their memory capabilities stretch way beyond three seconds.
“We are told that a goldfish has a memory span of less than three seconds and that no matter how small its tank is, it will always discover new places and objects,” Rory said to the New Zealand Herald, “I wanted to challenge this theory as I believe it is a myth intended to make us feel less guilty about keeping fish in small tanks.” Yes, or less guilty about feeling a live goldfish swishing around in your stomach until it inevitably succumbs to your gastric juices.