TIME animals

Drunk Fish Totally Impress Sober Fish, Study Finds

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Getty Images Zebra fish multiply in a water tank at N.I.H.

Researchers found that inebriated zebrafish convince clearheaded fish to follow them around, as their erratic behavior is perceived is a "boldness trait"

A recent study found that drunk fish can be quite persuasive—so persuasive, in fact, that they got sober fish to physically follow them around in the water.

Research showed that swimming in a high concentration of alcohol made zebrafish faster and bolder. But after the drunken zebrafish were dropped into alcohol-free water, more clearheaded fish were found to follow the inebriated ones around. In other words, drunk fish always end up becoming designated drivers.

“It is like [that the fish’s drunk behavior] is perceived as a boldness trait, thus imparting a high social status,” lead researcher Maurizio Porfiri, an associate professor at New York University Polytechnic Institute of Engineering, told Discover Magazine.

So even in schools of fish, straight edge guppies kowtow to the “cool” crowd.

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