Walking Began Underwater, Strolling-Fish Discovery Suggests
Look Ma, no feet! The first walkers may well have been full-on fish, say experts who've seen a prehistoric-like fish walk underwater.
(Related pictures: "Walking Fish a Model of Evolution in Action.")
In the lungfish, "this ability is surprising, because lungfish don't have feet!" study leader Heather King said via email.
Based on observations of the fish's movements in glass tanks in the lab, the study showed the lungfish were able both to push off a solid surface and move along it using their pelvic fins. (Watch a brief video of the lungfish walking.)
"We found that the lungfish uses a range of gaits, from walking (alternating the limbs) to bounding (moving the limbs synchronously)," said King, a biologist studying at the University of Chicago, who collaborated with past National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration grantee Neil Shubin on