News Round-Up

Skeletal study suggests at least 11 fish species are capable of walking


An international team of scientists has identified at least 11 species of fish suspected to have land-walking abilities.

The findings are based on CT scans and a new evolutionary map of the hillstream loach family, which includes the only living fish species caught in the act of walking: a rare, blind cavefish known as Cryptotora thamicola, or the cave angel fish. Pinpointing which species of hillstream loaches have walking capabilities can help scientists piece together how the first land-walking vertebrates might have come to be.

In a new study, researchers from the Florida Museum of Natural History, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Louisiana State University and Maejo University in Thailand analysed the bone structure of nearly 30 hillstream loach species, describing for the first time three categories of pelvic shapes. Based on the shape of the bone that connects some loaches’ spines to their pelvic fins, the team found that 10 other species of loach shared the cave angel fish’s unusually hefty pelvic girdle. MORE