Fish are a lot of things – slimy, weird, googly-eyed, delicious – but until now, human-like is about the last thing I would use to describe them.
If I had been the person to see this fish in the flesh – er, scales – I honestly am not sure that I would ever recover.
The video was captured at a freshwater lake in southwestern China, and the fish is believed to be from the species Cyprinus carpino (a carp). They come in a variety of colors ranging from olive to silver (in the wild), and in captivity, can sport any number of colors and patterns (like koi fish). And apparently, some of those patterns may involve black outlines that resemble a human face.
The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (and other fish experts) says the human tendency to anthropomorphize animals (see human characteristics where there aren’t any) is responsible for the fact that the fish seems to have a face. But if you look closely, you can see that it actually has does not have one.
At least, not a human face.
Scientists believe that humans anthropomorphize animals as a way to enhance our ability to read cues, body language, and other behaviors that have aided in our survival as a species. The ability is “supported by a set of cognitive mechanisms that are both an automatic response to any human-like behavior and reflective,” like thinking your dog is hungry when he sits in front of his food dish.
Though a similar video was debunked by Snopes (after amassing over 9 million views) earlier in 2019, so far, the jury on this slimy little fellow is still out.
Here’s the video – you decide!
I don’t know what I think – except that I’m probably not visiting China any time soon.
What about you?