When you look at yourself in the mirror, you probably recognize your own face. That puts you on a short list of animals that can recognize themselves in the mirror, a list that according to a new study includes manta rays, too, New Scientist reports. When researchers put a mirror in the tanks of two giant manta rays, the fish didn’t act like they were meeting a fresh face. Instead, they circled around and flapped their wings, as if testing to see whether the reflection moved, according to the study published this month in the Journal of Ethology. These are similar to how apes act in front of a mirror, says the study’s author, implying that manta rays are more self-aware than we previously thought. But other researchers—including the one who created the “mirror test” in the first place—are skeptical. They say the manta ray may not have recognized itself at all. Instead, it may have just been curious.
Click here for free access to our latest coronavirus/COVID-19 research, commentary, and news.
Support nonprofit science journalism
Science’s extensive COVID-19 coverage is free to all readers. To support our nonprofit science journalism, please make a tax-deductible gift today.