Watch: This Fish "Walks" Like Our Prehistoric Ancestors

Published 12 Feb 2018, 18:48 GMT
Watch: This Fish "Walks" Like Our Prehistoric Ancestors

This is an animal called a “little skate” and it may be providing us clues to the evolutionary development of land-dwelling locomotive behaviour. We knew that some fish could move along the sea floor in a way similar to walking. We didn’t know just how similar it was … until now.

Most land-dwelling vertebrates use walking as their primary method of getting around. The neural circuits essential for walking are different than the neural circuits most fish use for swimming. With swimming, locomotion is driven by muscles around the spine.

With walking, locomotion is driven by acute control of muscles in the limbs. Recent genetic analysis reveals that the little skate carries the same gene as four-legged animals. This discovery helps paint a clearer picture of the origins of land-dwelling creatures.

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