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This Ugly Fish Has Been Best Friends With A Scuba Diver For 25 Years

There's something extra adorable about unlikely animal-human friendships.

Maybe it's because deep down inside, we all really want to see everybody get along. I mean, why else would we get all misty-eyed when a wolf ends up taking care of a lost baby instead of tearing them to shreds?

Whatever the reason, it's awesome to witness. Especially when the animals aren't really known for being cuddly or affectionate. Like this weird looking fish who's been absolutely obsessed with Japanese diver Hiroyuki Arakawa for a whopping 25 years.

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Arakawa is responsible for overseeing the underwater shrines of Torii, which are important fixtures in the Shinto religion. The shrine is home to many different species of fish that have grown accustomed to Arakawa, chief among them is an Asian Sheepshead Wrasse named Yoriko.

Each time Arakawa dives underwater to check on the shrine, he greets Yoriko with a kiss. It's a tradition the two have been sharing for decades and was finally captured on camera.

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Fish often have a reputation of being "dumb," but it turns out that our aquatic ancestors' brains are capable of some pretty complex cognitive functions, like facial recognition. In a study published on Phys.org, researchers trained fish to spit jets of water at faces they recognized and the results from the experiments were pretty incredible.

"Archerfish are a species of tropical freshwater fish that spit a jet of water from their mouth to knock down insects in branches above the water. We positioned a computer monitor that showed images of human faces above the aquariums and trained them to spit at a particular face. Once the fish had learned to recognize a face, we then showed them the same face, as well as a series of new ones.
In all cases, the fish continued to spit at the face they had been trained to recognize, proving that they were capable of telling the two apart. Even when we did this with faces that were potentially more difficult because they were in black and white and the head shape was standardized, the fish were still capable of finding the face they were trained to recognize."

You can learn more about Arakawa and Yoriko's friendship by checking out this Facebook page that's filled with awesome videos of Arakawa at work with Yoriko by his side.

So cool.

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