In what is being described as a "major blow" to feminist t-shirt makers everywhere, pescatorial behaviorists at the University of Toomuchtimeontheirhands, New Mexico, have determined that fish do, in fact, require bicycles.
"To be honest, we're all a little surprised by these results," said Dr. Phil Landers, the principle investigator on the project. "The idea that legless animals that spend their entire existence under water might have such a strong affinity for such a clearly terrestrial machine seems counterintuitive, but that's the beauty of science. You just never know what you're going to learn."
He admitted to being unclear on how exactly the project was initiated, but denied early reports that it had anything to do with graduate student Diana Hartman's recent breakup with her longtime boyfriend and the lab's subsequent bar crawl to "help her get over that jerk".
In their experiments, the researchers observed the behavior patterns of two representative groups of fish, half of which were allowed unlimited access to bicycles while the others were not. They observed that the bicycle-positive fish appeared to be living happy and fullfilling lives, while those deprived of the two-wheeled conveyances became moody and irritable and were inclined to collect figurines.
What the fish actually do with the bicycles remains unknown.
"Obviously, these data raise almost as many questions as they answer," said Postdoctoral Fellow Roy Dreyfuss. "I think we're gonna need a bigger grant."
The wider implications of these results remain to be investigated, although law enforcement agencies have expressed interest in their possible relationship to the ususually high rate of bicycle thefts in towns along the Easter seaboard. Representatives of the Shwinn corporation refused to comment on reports of what is described as a "standing order" for an annual delivery of five thousand ten-speeds to the Santa Monica pier.
For their part, longtime advocates of the fish-bicycle anti-relationship claim to be undisturbed by the findings.
"While we welcome and encourage all forms of scientific inquiry," said a Metaphor Research Center spokesperson, "these people are clearly full of what a bear does in the woods."