Science | Geography | PSHE

What trout can tell us about love

Can fish teach us about relationships? They could not be more different from humans. But one writer says life lessons from the humble rainbow trout saved her romance. The fish glistened as it leapt out of the water. Its pink and green scales sparkled briefly in the sunlight before it plunged back into the river.  Rainbow trout look nothing like humans. They have scales instead of skin and gills instead of lungs.  But according to one journalist, they can teach us vital lessons about relationships. Lauren Silverman first started watching the trout near her California home at a difficult time in her life. Her partner, Paulo, had moved back to Argentina after suffering from homesickness.  The more she looked at her relationship, the more similarities she saw with the rainbow trout.  Rainbow trout are born in rivers before moving to the ocean. They transform at sea, changing their scales from pink to blue. But at some point, they feel an urge to return to the river, and they will cross huge barriers to get home.  When Paulo moved to the US, he also transformed. He stopped kissing people’s cheeks and started calling himself Paul. Now, he was feeling the same longing for home.  But rainbow trout are unusual - they travel time and time again between the river and the sea. Soon, Paulo called. He was returning to California.  Silverman is not the only one who thinks fish can teach us about life. One study found that when convict cichlids lose their mate, they become pessimistic.  Meanwhile, others have found comfort in the way dolphins work as a team to protect their pods and dogs love unconditionally.  Charles Darwin wrote that humans and animals differ only in degree, not in kind. But we should not ignore the fact that these differences led to “radical different possibilities of thinking,” says one scientist.  However, some believe that by searching for similarities, we can find a new perspective on life. Can fish teach us about relationships? Riverbed romance Yes: The rainbow trout overcomes huge hurdles to return to its birthplace every year. We should all remember its strong will and resilience when we think about our lives and relationships.  No: This is an absurd idea. The vast differences between rainbow trout and humans make it impossible to compare the two. People should learn about relationships from other humans.  Or… Due to human activity in rivers, the lives of people and rainbow trout are irreversibly intertwined. Even if we cannot learn from them, it is vital we understand them if they are to survive.       KeywordsRainbow trout - The rainbow trout is native to cold-water rivers which run into the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. 

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