In response to:
The Autist Artist from the April 25, 1985 issue
To the Editors:
In “The Autist Artist” [NYR, April 25], Oliver Sacks, in his critique of José’s second trout drawing asks, “What fish has nostrils?” (p. 20). Simply answered, all fish have nostrils.
New York City
Oliver Sacks replies:
If by “nostrils” one understands apertures opening to respiratory organs, and not mere olfactory pits or depressions, then no fish have nostrils, except for the rare Dipnoans—lungfish—which breathe air; the Coelacanths—of which Latimeria is the sole living example; and possibly one or two others, equally rare.
But it would be more graceful to admit that I had a momentary aberration, possibly associated with a confused memory of Thurber’s reader’s fish with hysterical ears.
June 13, 1985