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U=(N/T)M*G: Moriarty

See that pretty dragon-scale Betta I set as the feature image? That’s the infamous Moriarty. He sits on my desk, my evil co-writer.

Moriarty, while a great co-writer, is an evil asshole. I’m not kidding. He’s mean, flashy, and loves to fluff up every time I come close. He’s also an attempted murderer. The poor gold snail that shared his tank for a week had to be moved. I also have Mycroft, an aloof and beautiful Betta that sits on my nightstand, as well as the Baker Street tiger barbs, Watson and Holmes and Lestrade. They’re feisty, curious and love to argue with each other. My kidlet has Sunshine, the hippie love child of Bettas and so laid back that I’m pretty sure he’s on something, except when Sunshine is defending his tetras.

You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about with this list of just the fish in my house (as opposed to the rest of my menagerie). It’s another case of science proving something that most of us already knew. Fish have distinct personalities.

Granted, the articles I stumbled across were for guppies, sharks and others, but any Betta owner will tell you of the weird quirks they’ve seen in their own fish. However, it makes me think.

Science has proven personalities in a whole host of our fellow terrestrials, and they are going for smaller and biologically less complex lifeforms all the time. So far, we’ve seen an impressive array of personalities in every species that’s been tested. It begs the question, how small and simple does a creature have to be before personalities aren’t present? As time goes on, we’ll surely find out.

If, by some miracle, we find personalities down at the viral or bacterial level, it suggests some pretty wild conclusions.

The big one, the idea that prompted me to share this, is that any of the species we share this planet with could’ve become the dominant species here. Society and individualism are some of the huge factors that made humans the top species and if those same traits are common, we may end up with another species that rises up to our level. Or the trajectory of this planet might have been wildly different. Or could still be wildly different than we foresee.

Honestly, I hope our challengers are cephalopods.

-T.A. Creech

Science in the pursuit of Fiction.

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