When One Fish Gets Drunk, Its Whole School Swims Faster

When a single fish gets tipsy, it swims faster than usual. This was already known.  But what happens when it is thrown into a tank with sober fish? The fish swims even faster than when it is alone, and, furthermore, the whole school speeds up. The sober fish may take the soused swimmer's speed and uninhibited fin-flapping for leadership.

“These results were very surprising,” said NYU researcher Maurizio Porfiri (one of PopSci's Brilliant 10 class of 2010), who led the study, in a statement. “It is clear that the untreated [sober] fish were matching the swimming speed of the alcohol-exposed fish, and this correlation was especially strong at an intermediate level of alcohol exposure. 

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