We know that hundreds of millions of years ago that fish left the water and eventually evolved into land animals. But what if we could see it happen right now? We sort of can. Scientists are raising fish to survive outside of water and to walk on land and they’re changing right before our eyes.
Nature published a study showing Senegal bichirs or dinosaur eels being raised for the past eight months “on land” and it’s absolutely fascinating. The dinosaur eels typically live in water but have lungs to breathe air (as well as gills) and can sort of walk (if stepping and slithering count as walking) which makes them the perfect fish to study.
The idea is that by understanding how these dinosaur eels begin to walk, we can better understand how the first fish walked so many years ago. The results were revealing: the dinosaur eels raised on land lifted their heads higher, planted their fins better, slipped less and walked more consistently compared to those raised normally in water. The environment they lived in changed their abilities.
Even more, the scientists found that the muscles and bones of land raised dinosaur eels also changed as they adapted to walking. According to them, those changes are similar to species that have moved from water to land. It’s fascinating, learn more about the study below: