COUNCIL CHRONICLE – According to new findings published in the scientific journal Cell, the ancient fish ancestors of modern-day terrestrial creatures may have learned to walk even before they left the ocean.
Ancient Fish Seemingly Able to Walk Underwater
Based on evidence from a recent study conducted by New York University researchers, scientists are now looking into when exactly terrestrial beings first learned to move using limbs on land.
A team of specialists ran experiments targeting modern day fish that move along the ocean floor, for example, the little skate. They also studied four-legged creatures like mice.
What they found was that the neural circuits involved with the left and right motion of the fish as well as the leg movements of the mice were the same.
Given the statistical improbability of two of the same biological structures evolving on these different creatures, this leads to a new assumption. One that claims that a common ancestor between land dwellers and sea walkers (such as the Tiktaalik fossil) somehow evolved the necessary functions for walking even before it left for land.
The experiments carried out were explicitly targeted at taking a look at each animal’s RNA sequencing patterns. Examining genes like Foxp1, the team found the genetic structure used by both for seafloor movement and walking was almost identical.
This would seem to confirm their theories about common ancestors given that the modern offshoots of each are still quite similar where it counts. The first instances of this gene were found nearly 420 million years ago.
This new research is instrumental in uncovering more about the origins of our species as well as others on the planet. Despite how extensive fossil records may be, they only hold so much information.
Through experimentation such as this, it becomes possible to learn even more about how land dwellers came to be and about how things might turn out as evolution continues on its course.
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