A study suggests fish consciously experience discomfort
Many a seafood fan has parroted the popular idea that fish and crustaceans do not feel pain. New research, however, suggests that they may, revealing that their nervous system may be more complex than we thought—and our own awareness of pain may be much more evolutionarily ancient than suspected. [For more on pain, see the special section beginning here.]
Joseph Garner of Purdue University and his colleagues in Norway report that the way goldfish respond to pain shows that these animals do experience pain consciously, rather than simply reacting with a reflex—such as when a person recoils after stepping on a tack (jerking away before he or she is aware of the sensation).