Science Raised A Fish To Walk, And The Possibilities Are Terrifying

The term "a fish out of water" has taken a serious blow. Scientists at McGill University and the University of Ottawa have raised previously water-dwelling bichir fish to walk and live on land. The study, published in Nature , provides a fascinating look at evolutionary science, but mostly I'm just thinking about other aquatic creatures that I don't want to walk on land.

Bichirs are native to African freshwater rivers and have both lungs and gills, which allows them to breathe outside of the water. From time to time, wild bichirs venture onto land and have developed a way of walking that looks more like a slither-hop motion. Researchers decided to raise them in terrestrial environments to understand how their movement could be a key part of species that evolved from sea to land animals.

But bichirs aren't the only fish that have both lungs and gills. There is the obviously-named lungfish, which can survive out of water, but hasn't really gotten that whole walking thing down. Rather, they just flop and hope they go somewhere. Still, there are other fish that have mastered the art of land walking better than the bichir, such as mudskippers and mermaids who have sold their voice to merwitches.

But The Los Angeles Times reported that bichirs are particularly helpful to this study because they are the closest surviving relative to both the common ancestor of lobe-finned fishes — which tetrapods arrived out of — and ray-finned fishes, which are what most common fish are today. This will allow them to see the evolutionary link more clearly.

Researchers found that bichirs raised out of water for eight months lifted their heads higher, were able to take steps with their fins more efficiently, and slipped less than those raised in water. And why not? You're walking tall, you're striding smooth, you've made it to land now, baby!

Well, that's great! So we've maybe found the way that land-walkers evolved from the sea, but now all the other creatures lurking under the water may be getting ideas. Can you manifest lungs over the centuries by simply wishing them into existence? Isn't that how evolution works? Forgive me, I was school in Texas' public education system. They're not so great about that whole part of science.

So since I am a little fuzzy on the timelines and processes at play, I'm going to go ahead and assume that the entire sea is RISING AND ORGANIZING AN OCEANIC REVOLUTION. Imagine if these got out of the water:


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These are spiders. That live in the sea. There is nothing else I need to say for that to be terrifying.


These are the closest modern approximation we have to dinosaurs. Would you be cool with a T-Rex army? Didn't think so.


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Yeah, you're safe looking at them behind glass, but imagine the day when they BREAK FREE AND ROAM THE EARTH.

So beware, everyone. The fish are coming.