This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Ancient walking mystery deepens

Ancient walking mystery deepens - Comments

Aztek's Avatar Comment 1 by Aztek

The move from living in water to life on land - a pivotal moment in evolution - must have been a gradual one.

Gradual? So does this put into question the crocoduck? My mind is blown.

Wed, 23 May 2012 20:49:32 UTC | #943174

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 2 by Alan4discussion

There are various fish which walk on the sea floor on their fins with the buoyancy of the water taking some of their weight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coelacanth

@OP - Instead, it would have hauled itself from the water using its front limbs as crutches, research in Nature suggests.

If we look at present-day amphibious fish they pull themselves along using two pectoral fins as crutches:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudskipper - Mudskippers are members of the subfamily Oxudercinae (tribe Periophthalmini),1 within the family Gobiidae (Gobies). They are completely amphibious fish, fish that can use their pectoral fins to walk on land.2 Being amphibious, they are uniquely adapted to intertidal habitats, unlike most fish in such habitats which survive the retreat of the tide by hiding under wet seaweed or in tidal pools.4 Mudskippers are quite active when out of water, feeding and interacting with one another, for example to defend their territories.

. ... .. .. or have special adaptations for clinging to, or climbing rocks.

http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/2009/01/between-a-rock-and-a-wet-place-2/ - Life is anything but a vacation for a climbing goby, a small fish that lives in Hawaii. Usually shorter than your thumb, this fish hatches in freshwater high in the hills and mountains. But soon afterward it’s swept out to the salty sea by strong currents.

About six months later, the fish begin the long journey back upstream to freshwater above waterfalls. It’s a good place for climbing gobies to breed because their natural predators — mainly other fish — can’t get to them above the falls.

During its return to the high freshwater streams, a climbing goby faces two deadly challenges. First, the fish has to swim through lowland waterways that are filled with predators — larger fish that are looking for a goby snack. Then, a goby has to climb up rocky waterfalls, some of which are hundreds of feet tall. It clings to the slippery rocks with its mouth and a tiny sucker on its underside. Slowly, inch by inch, the fish climbs. Richard Blob, a scientist a Clemson University who studies gobies, says that “in human terms, it’s like a marathon.”

There are also (as @OP) various lobe-finned fish in the fossil record. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fishapods.jpg

Wed, 23 May 2012 20:58:01 UTC | #943175

lewis.breland's Avatar Comment 3 by lewis.breland

I just thought this line sounded a bit funny:

"Textbook pictures of the 360-million-year-old animal moving like a salamander are incorrect, say scientists."

Well, what scientists? Where? lol

Ah...writers.

Wed, 23 May 2012 23:21:41 UTC | #943189

PERSON's Avatar Comment 4 by PERSON

Therefore... goddidditt! Fundie "arguments" scrawled in crayon in 3... 2... 1...

what scientists?

Dr. Stephanie Pierce (RVC and Cambridge), Professor Jenny Clack (Cambridge), and Professor John Hutchinson (RVC), apparently.

A short video of the model.

Thu, 24 May 2012 04:37:27 UTC | #943209

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 5 by Jos Gibbons

I thought we already expected early on-land creatures to drag themselves with their fins/limbs. After all, the somewhat-on-land creatures of today (I think mudskippers are an example; feel free to correct me) are like that. This computer work doesn't so much overturn anything as confirm suspicions.

Incidentally, "facts contradict textbooks" is a common refrain of journalists who don't think all that highly of science but still get to report on it. For starters, what are these textbooks? Seriously, I want proof they exist. Secondly, of course textbooks are "wrong" about things - they dumb down for children.

Another common journalist tactic for stoking the readers' science fire is to use the word "scientists". That could be anything from "every single scientist on Earth" to "two scientists". In this case, it was three scientists. Remember: "a few" differs from "most" in that the latter is indicative of a consensus formed on a body of evidence it took ages to accumulate.

Thu, 24 May 2012 06:38:55 UTC | #943226

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 6 by SaganTheCat

nothing new here. move along...

Thu, 24 May 2012 12:15:44 UTC | #943261

pzkrakz's Avatar Comment 7 by pzkrakz

This is going to be fodder for the creationists... even if it remains fully supportive of evolution.

Thu, 24 May 2012 13:52:22 UTC | #943280