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Fish Raised On Land Give Clues To How Early Animals Left the Seas

samzenpus posted about three weeks ago | from the fishy-first-step dept.

Science 62

sciencehabit writes When raised on land, a primitive, air-breathing fish walks much better than its water-raised comrades, according to a new study. The landlubbers even undergo skeletal changes that improve their locomotion. The work may provide clues to how the first swimmers adapted to terrestrial life. The study suggests that the ability of a developing organism to adjust to new conditions—its so-called developmental plasticity—may have played a role in the transition from sea to land.

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Oblig. (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about three weeks ago | (#47771445)

"Ve...haf vays... of making you valk...'

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771653)

I thought Ned Flanders tossing them back into the ocean would be the "oblig.".

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771721)

I thought Homer sitting on the walking fish would be the oblig.
"Oh I wish, I wish I hadn't killed that fish."

Re: Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47776619)

Yup. Mucho times the water nearly dried up to mud and the fish lived barely in a little water and air. Rinse and repeat. Of course only a few species of Gish could handle that.

Re:Oblig. (1)

Barsteward (969998) | about three weeks ago | (#47772565)

not Ned Flounders?

Re:Oblig. (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about three weeks ago | (#47772659)

"I did Nazi the fish coming."

Alternate link to story... (5, Insightful)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about three weeks ago | (#47771471)

LiveScience.com has a longer, more descriptive article/video...

http://www.livescience.com/475... [livescience.com]

Re:Alternate link to story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771693)

... and the video is even in HTML5 ...

Well color me surprised! (1)

Alex Kasa (2867743) | about three weeks ago | (#47771525)

The ability to adjust to new conditions played a role in fish adjusting to new conditions!

Re:Well color me surprised! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about three weeks ago | (#47772183)

Call me when the fish can do my taxes.

Re:Well color me surprised! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47772633)

Ive heard you can hire some real slimey fishes that can do your taxes so you dont have to pay anything.

Re:Well color me surprised! (1)

some old guy (674482) | about three weeks ago | (#47772823)

Yeah, but only 1%ers can afford them.

Re:Well color me surprised! (2)

drainbramage (588291) | about three weeks ago | (#47773205)

I heard that you have to pay them scale.

Re:Well color me surprised! (1)

Buchenskjoll (762354) | about three weeks ago | (#47772841)

The Danish expression for tax evader is "tax eel", so maybe it's possible...

Re:Well color me surprised! (5, Interesting)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about three weeks ago | (#47772457)

The conditions may not be so "new" to the species. They might have evolved this developmental plasticity precisely because they've been exposed to this same variety of conditions in their evolutionary past.

Re:Well color me surprised! (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about three weeks ago | (#47772689)

We see some level of this even with humans - a human who grows up lifting heavy objects will develop more muscles for doing so, and one that experiences regular bone stress will develop stronger bones in those areas.

I agree that they were exposed to it in the past, probably on a regular basis. There's a reason these fish are air breathers. The ability to move between various shallow ponds really raises the habitat areas for mudskippers, for example.

Re:Well color me surprised! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47774841)

That's Lamarkian evolution. Not quite true(there are some weird things that do work that way).

Re:Well color me surprised! (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about three weeks ago | (#47782059)

That's Lamarkian evolution. Not quite true(there are some weird things that do work that way).

That would only be true if the offspring of the animal inherited the bigger muscles and such as well. Instead, outside of mutations and such, the offspring will have to develop the muscles the same way it's parents did - through stressing them via work.

science mag is tabloid rag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771583)

Richard Blob? Emily Stand-en? Fish study at Mc-Gill University? Nice day in the Land of Make Believe!

Earth's future... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771607)

I, for one, welcome our Earth's newbie, developmental plasticity fish overlords...

One good meme... (0)

techno-vampire (666512) | about three weeks ago | (#47771715)

No, no, no! You have it backwards. Here on Soviet Slashdot, developmental plasticity fish overlords welcome you!

Re:One good meme... (2)

tlambert (566799) | about three weeks ago | (#47772165)

No, no, no! You have it backwards. Here on Soviet Slashdot, developmental plasticity fish overlords welcome you!

Ironically, it's a revival of Lysenkoism, which has its supportive roots in Soviet era propaganda - making your comment quite apt, given that there was official party support from Stalin, to the point of those opposing the idea being executed. It's gained popularity again due to possible epigenetic mechanisms, but this hasn't really panned out in terms of direct heritability of the induced characteristics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

Re:One good meme... (1)

gewalker (57809) | about three weeks ago | (#47772525)

It's getting hard to distinguish Lamarckianism, Lysenkoism and epigenetics these days.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771631)

Where did the developmental plasticity come from, though? If the species had never been exposed to land before, why its body have the ability to adapt to it?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771759)

Where did the developmental plasticity come from, though? If the species had never been exposed to land before, why its body have the ability to adapt to it?

Nature finds a way..... (cue mysterious sounding music 'here')

Re: But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771923)

Sheer luck.

Adaptation is all sheer luck. Evolution doesn't prepare animals for certain environments. It just selects the ones that do best in the environment by killing all the others off. The fish that could adapt to land thrived by taking over this new habitat. The others either died or stayed in the water. No strange explanation needed there.

Also, as done in this study, being forced into a specific environment trains you for that environment by training the muscles needed in day to day life. The fish forced to live on land develop their leg muscles more. Again, not surprising.

Re: But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47774805)

Evolution doesn't prepare animals for certain environments. It just selects the ones that do best in the environment by killing all the others off.

That's something that has never happened ever. It simply isn't logical. Why is an entire species dwelling in an environment with a 100% yearly mortality rate? How did they all get there? How many thousands of generations will they need to be there before a golden child is born that CAN survive the harrowing environment? What are the chances that golden child ALSO be able to live longer than a year (and remain fertile) when the species has [been unintelligently-designed] to only last one year (Because otherwise, its survival of the elements has no bearing on its ability to breed)? GOOD THING THAT SPECIES DOESN'T CANNABALIZE THEIR YOUNG! (except that's something fish usually do)

Evolutionism apologists are the worst.

Re:But... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about three weeks ago | (#47772067)

Perhaps it served some other purpose in the shallow swamps where such fish evolved, and it could be co-opted to movement on land.

Re:But... (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about three weeks ago | (#47772267)

by living in periodically shallow waters for perhaps thousands or tens of thousands of generations.

Re:But... (1)

DrXym (126579) | about three weeks ago | (#47772577)

These things had already evolved to have lungs and strong fins, presumably for leaving the water for reasons advantageous to survival (e.g. escaping a drying up pond). So they have been exposed to land before and the evidence is there in physiology.

What the experiment mainly does is demonstrate the endurance of the creatures to stay on land for extended durations. Unsurprisingly these extended stays on land gives the fish get an upper body workout so they get better at moving around.

Seriously? (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about three weeks ago | (#47771643)

You put an amphibious fish on land and it develops its fin muscles for walking and you keep one in water and their muscles develop for swimming... and this was the big discovery?

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771717)

Exactly. Also taking the observation of this type of developmental plasticity and attributing it to the primordial ability of some fish to adapt to land is a definite post hoc fallacy.

Re:Seriously? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771769)

Ah, so you must be a creationist. You obviously don't know how to use science. Nice try, but your kind isn't welcome here!

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771915)

You fail at logic. I wish your kind weren't welcome here, but then again the place is pretty dead now.

Back on topic: you can't simply observe something like an amphibious fish with phenotypical developmental plasticity for an aquatic environment or a land environment and attribute its evolutionary development of amphibious capacity to that, when it is just as likely that having this type developmental plasticity evolved as an adaptation to enhance survivability in conjunction with the species' amphibious emergent trait. That is the nature of this post hoc (or correlation vs causation, depending on how you model the evolution) fallacy.

You were calling me a creationist? Oh right, well we already established you fail at logic.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771973)

You must be a smug liberal who doesn't understand what you believe.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47773141)

No, I am just your average Slashdot reader. This is indeed proof of evolution whether you like it or not. You know that saying "the proof is in the pudding" about chemistry? Well here it is again and please don't deny it.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47776605)

No, I am just your average Slashdot reader.

That's what GP said.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Jason Goatcher (3498937) | about three weeks ago | (#47772297)

Okay, dumbass, let's see you use the scientific method to prove evolutionary theory correct. Surprise!!! You can't do it because it deals with things that can't be absolutely proven.

Claiming that creationists don't understand science is ignorant and bigoted, and yet it happens every day.

Fuck you and your judgmental, self-serving attitude. Christians do have brains and do have the ability to reason, and your insults don't change the fact.

Go right ahead and persecute us with your insults, it only makes us stronger.

Re:Seriously? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47772503)

Okay, dumbass, let's see you use the scientific method to prove evolutionary theory correct. Surprise!!! You can't do it because it deals with things that can't be absolutely proven.

Still a better story than Twilight... err.. I mean $HolyBookDuJour.

Claiming that creationists don't understand science is ignorant and bigoted, and yet it happens every day.

If they understand it, they wilfully decide to override it with fantasy.

Fuck you and your judgmental, self-serving attitude. Christians do have brains and do have the ability to reason, and your insults don't change the fact.

Have brains, ability to reason, and actively choose to suppress them? Your insults don't change the fact.

Go right ahead and persecute us with your insults, it only makes us stronger.

Maybe science should start playing the persecution card too. It seems very popular and effective. You persecute me because I'm a scientist!

Re:Seriously? (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about three weeks ago | (#47772825)

Go right ahead and persecute us with your insults, it only makes us stronger.

and there we have it! the christians deep desire to be some kind of martyr!
take you creationist bollocks and your desire to be persecuted and bugger off with your nonsense!

Re:Seriously? (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about three weeks ago | (#47773455)

Jason above doesn't appear to be very Christian. I would hope he is not representative, and merely loud.

His reaction appears to be that of one fighting a losing battle, since deep down he doesn't believe the literal account in Genesis. Ironically that unnecessary tension within him will likely ultimately result in the loss of his faith. Leave him be, unless he learns better, it will eventually and sadly run it's course from uninformed christian to uninformed atheist. I am not entirely sure which is worse.

Re:Seriously? (1)

DaveyJJ (1198633) | about three weeks ago | (#47772877)

And the fact that the above poster used the word "prove" in this part of his sentence ... "use the scientific method to prove evolutionary theory correct" ... goes to show he doesn't understand the two words "scientific theory" when used together. Let me know when he's passed basic some high school and understands the words evidence and falsifiable and I'll come back.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47775055)

There's more than one definition of "Prove" and one of them (albeit a lower-use case) is correctly used in his context. Maybe you should stop being such a shithead over minor communication errors and try to address his actual argument. Your entire post is stuffed with naught but shitty logical fallacies and such hypocrisy it's insane. For example: You're telling him that he needs to check out the term "falsifiable" while you hide behind the shield of "EVOLUTIONS R A SCIENTIFIC THEORY!!!!!! OMG THAT MEANS IT TOTALLY PASSED THE SCI METH!!!!"

Tell me: What part of the evolutionary theory is falsifiable? What ISN'T bullshitted away by some asshole when you point out that animals don't breed based on genetics?

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47778979)

Tell me: What part of the evolutionary theory is falsifiable?

Claim CA211 [talkorigins.org]

What ISN'T bullshitted away by some asshole when you point out that animals don't breed based on genetics?

I don't understand what that means.

In any case, you may find that evolution doesn't answer all the questions as well as you would like and it may even be shown to be wrong one day - who knows - but I don't see how that would make creationism right.

- agbinfo

Re:Seriously? (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about three weeks ago | (#47773823)

Okay, dumbass, let's see you use the scientific method to prove evolutionary theory correct. Surprise!!! You can't do it because it deals with things that can't be absolutely proven.

Science never "deals with things that can't be absolutely proven."

Repeat after me: Proofs are for mathematicians.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about three weeks ago | (#47776057)

How very open-minded of you. You see someone questioning the conditions of a "scientific experiment" and immediately attempt to reduce them to a social stereotype. I'm sure you're a marvelous scientist in your own mind.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Livius (318358) | about three weeks ago | (#47771779)

I'm guessing there is some interesting science being investigated but there's no way to know from the summary's statement of the obvious.

Very Interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771677)

This is very interesting, but unfortunately adds itself to the vast body of evidence that supports the Scientific Theory of Evolution, and therefore will be derided and railed against by the usual suspects. Im fully expecting this study to be banned in various States and the study's authors to have their names dragged through the conspiracy mud in Fox News.

Something smells fishy... (2)

penguinoid (724646) | about three weeks ago | (#47771729)

These creatures take to land like a fish takes to water.

Devil Fish! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47771749)

Satan inside!

control versus experiment? (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | about three weeks ago | (#47771909)

They bought 149 fish and based their experiment on 111 in a terrarium and 38 in the control?

Seriously? Who got to choose the fish that went into the overloaded terrarium ?

Re:control versus experiment? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about three weeks ago | (#47771943)

And why 111 vs 38 instead of 75 vs 74?

Re:control versus experiment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47772137)

From the method section of the article:

[...] any fish that had fainter stripeswere assumedto be older and were left in the aquatic control group, as they had been in an aquatic environment fromtheir beginning.

and

Fish numbers were chosen and distributed in this way because of limitations in habitat area within the experimental set-up and in anticipation of higher mortality in terrestrial environments.

Caught this little shit trying to evolve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47772279)

plasticity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47772347)

when does an organism benefit from plasticity, and when does it prefer a different evolutionary mechanism? does plasticity wax and wane as species branch then become specialized?

Re:plasticity (2)

Sique (173459) | about three weeks ago | (#47772467)

An organism benefits from plasticity in changing or not optimal environments. About every organism shows signs of a certain plasticity. It doesn't just thrive under optimal conditions, but it can also exist in not so advanturous environments, but it doesn't grow to the same size, reaches the same age or produced the same amount of offspring. Nevertheless, thanks to plasticity, it can overcome the situation.

I fail to see the signifigance (1)

oic0 (1864384) | about three weeks ago | (#47772701)

I doubt they're viewing any on going development, likely the thing already had genes present to allow it to develop differently if given a season with less water available.

I'll explain this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47772977)

In the beginning, we were all fish swimming around in the water. Then one day a couple of fish had a retard baby, and the retard baby was different so it got to live. So retard fish goes on to make more retard babies. Then one day a retard baby crawls out of the ocean with its mutant fish hands, and it had butt sex with a squirrel or something and made this, retard frog squirrel. Then that had butt sex with a monkey and had a retard baby which was a monkey fish frog, and then that monkey fish frog had butt sex with another monkey, that had a mutant retard baby that screwed another monkey, and that made you. So there you go, you're the retarded offspring of five monkeys having butt sex with a fish squirrel, congratulations.

In other news: Running is different then Swimming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47773591)

And if you practice one more then then other you will be better at it!

nothing to see here - move along!

Its' not that hard to see (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about three weeks ago | (#47774341)

...how the temporal placticity becomes permanent.

All the creatures have some slight bone changes, due to the absence of water and the effect of gravity.

Over time, those whose genes allow for greater changes breed true, while those whose genes limit these beneficial changes tend to breed less.

Eventually someone gets a mutation that makes it slightly easier to walk and effectively makes it much harder to swim. As they no longer swim, that mutation gets bred into everyone.

Ta da, the 'temporary plasticity' has become permaennt.

Animals? Or vertebrates? (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | about three weeks ago | (#47774509)

I've heard the same story as most...fish left the seas to spawn amphibians, reptiles, and other land animals.

Such stories never address invertebrates. If, as the headline suggests, all land animals come from fish who left the water, does this mean insects and other land invertebrates evolved from fish?

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