Walking African Fish Reveals How Our Ancestors Evolved

Polypterus senegalus. (Photo: Morin, Standen, Larsson)
Polypterus senegalus. (Photo: Morin, Standen, Larsson)
Polypterus senegalus. (Photo: Morin, Standen, Larsson)

Cape Town (News24.com) – Scientific experiments on an African fish have shown what might have happened when the first fish ‘walked’ out of water, an evolutionary step that gave rise to today’s tetrapods – amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Researchers from the McGill University used a living fish, Polypterus, to examine the developmental changes associated with the transition to conditions on land.

Polypterus is an African fish that has the ability to breath air, ‘walk’ on land, and resembles the ancient fish that evolved into tetrapods.

The research team raised juvenile Polypterus on land for a year and observed the manner in which the ‘terrestrialised’ fish looked and moved differently.

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