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In an effort to understand our own evolutionary past, researchers at McGill University have raised a fish that can walk on land, just like our ancient aquatic ancestors that pulled themselves out of the primordial ooze.

Called a Polytpterus, the water-to-land fish is a breed that can actually breath air and walks on land using its front fins. In the experiment, the McGill researchers took one of these fish and raised it only on land, with others kept in their natural water-habitat as a control group.

The "terrestrialized" little fishie later outperformed its water-raised brethren in all land-based efforts. After living on land, the fish was able to hold its head higher, walk more smoothly, and wouldn't slip on its fins as much. In a striking change, even the terra-fish's skeleton morphed, becoming reinforced in the chest area and elongated.

In a short amount of time, legit evolutionary changes occurred in a single organism, referred to as evolutionary "plasticity." Not only does this experiment show us how fossil fishes made the jump from water to land, but also makes you wonder what the human body would become if one's environment drastically changed.

For more on all things awesome, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte


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