From Wildlife Extra:
Survey reveals some children struggle to identify turtles, rays and even penguins
British children are struggling to identify some of the most common sea life, according to research commissioned by the National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham, with some as old as 12 unable to correctly name a turtle.
The research was carried out to establish the extent of children’s knowledge of marine life. More than 500 youngsters between the ages of five and 12 were shown images of various species of sea life including a ray, turtle, otter, seahorse, octopus, jellyfish, penguin, clown fish, crab and starfish.
Overall, boys performed slightly better than girls of the same age, and children in the Midlands, East Anglia, Scotland and Wales were the best performers by region. Those in Northern Ireland, the North East and London had the highest number of incorrect answers.
Almost all of those surveyed correctly identified the starfish and the seahorse, but there was some confusion when it came to deciding on the octopus and jellyfish, with almost a third of eight year olds wrongly naming the octopus, and more than a quarter of nine year olds believing a jellyfish was called a glow fish.
In many languages other than English, like German, Dutch, Spanish and French, the children would not have gotten bad notes for this; as in those languages, the word for “turtle” is the same as the word for “tortoise”.
Most unexpectedly, though, many children struggled to recognise a penguin, with a fifth of seven year olds opting to call it a puffin or even a Pingu – the friendly television character penguin. Understandably, a fictional character also influenced five year olds to identify the instantly recognisable orange, white and black striped clown fish as Nemo.
James Robson, curator at The National SEA LIFE Centre in Birmingham, said: “The results of the survey are really interesting – and very surprising! We chose to use some of the most well-known animals at the centre in the survey and, whilst some aren’t straightforward to identify, we didn’t think others like the turtle or ray would cause so much confusion. It shows just how important the educational aspects of The National SEA LIFE Centre and other animal-focused attractions really are.