Very few animals are capable of recognizing themselves in the mirror. New research suggests that manta rays are capable of this unique cognitive feat—a possible sign that these fish are self-aware.
As children, many of us enjoyed playing in front of the mirror. We’d stick our tongues out at ourselves, make funny faces, or try to move faster than our reflections. Scientists say this sort of behavior is “self-directed,” meaning we can adjust our actions to reflect the reality or needs of a situation. Like sticking out our tongues in front of the mirror. Self-directed behaviors are considered a prerequisite for self-awareness—i.e. the conscious knowledge we have of ourselves, feelings, motives, and desires.