Thursday March 28, 2024


Physicists are also interested in fish—above all when they are researching the formation of structures. A research team from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) and the University of Bristol (United Kingdom) has examined the schooling behavior of zebra danio (Danio rerio, also known as “zebrafish”) using methods from the field of multi-particle physics. They explain that groups of just three fish already move in a similar way to large schools while, by contrast, two fish display completely different behavior.

The saying “three is a crowd” seems not only to apply to “The Three Investigators” and the three musketeers. In various scientific phenomena—such as primary colors or spatial dimensions—three options are also enough to characterize different states.

Physicists have now investigated how various large groups of living creatures behave. They wanted to know the minimum group size needed for the movement patterns of the individual members to change and become a coordinated group movement. And three does indeed seem to be the key number for zebrafish.

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