Friday, 20 March 2015

Weird 'Water Tongue' Lets Fish Feed on Land

by Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor | March 20, 2015 07:27am ET

A fish that uses water  as a sort of tongue to feed on land could shed light on how animals with backbones first invaded land, researchers say.

One of the most pivotal moments in evolution occurred when a few pioneering fish left the water about 350 million to 400 million years ago. These fish evolved into the first tetrapods (four-legged land animals), which ultimately gave rise to amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

To figure out how ancient animals made this shift to land, scientists typically investigate how the limbs of the first tetrapods evolved over time. However, biomechanist Krijn Michel at the University of Antwerp in Belgium and his colleagues suggest that investigating how early tetrapods learned to eat on land is equally important to understanding this key point in evolution.

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