The Origin of Walking

From New Scientist:

A lungfish that uses its fins for walking could help to unravel the steps our distant relations took in order to move from water to land.

The African lungfish (Protopterus annectens) has lobe-shaped fins similar to those seen in the ancestors of the first vertebrates to walk on land.

Anecdotal evidence suggested that the fish use these to walk along lake beds. Now Heather King of the University of Chicago in Illinois has filmed the lungfish in motion and found that they do indeed walk using their two pelvic fins.

This suggests fins were used for walking before they evolved into specialised limbs, says King.

New Scientist has a video of this but it’s rather brief. This is pretty cool – an idea of one step in the path species took from single-celled aquatic organisms to land animals.

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