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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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Video: Ancient Fish Takes a Walk
12 December 2011 3:01 pm
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, the song goes, but new research reveals that at least one ancient fish can take a walk. The African lungfish (Protopterus annectens), a 230-million-year-old species found in backwaters in countries such as Senegal, has long been rumored to stride along riverbeds. Now researchers wielding video cameras have caught the creature in action in laboratory tanks, not only walking but also bounding on the skinny fins that sprout from the belly halfway between snout and tail. As lungfish ambled across the floor of the tank, they raised their bodies off the surface—something only four-legged land animals usually do, according to a paper published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team speculates that walking may be less likely to attract predators—or scare prey—than swimming. Lungfish are close kin to the ancestors of terrestrial animals, so the researchers say the study shows that the ability to stroll along a surface evolved even before creatures moved from sea to dry land.
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