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The Slow Crawl From Water to Land (VIDEO)

The Slow Crawl From Water to Land (VIDEO)

The writer C.S. Lewis once said that ‘Humans are amphibians – half spirit and half animal.’ He may have been speaking symbolically, but he wasn’t too far from the truth!

The name Amphibians comes in essence from the Greek meaning ‘two’ and ‘modes of life.’ Their ability to transform from water-breathing juveniles into an air-breathing adults, meant a better chance at finding food and less of a chance that they would have to fight for it. But learning to breathe wasn’t the only thing up against these aquatic pioneers. The greatest challenge was how to get there.

In the beginning, one group of amphibians developed multi-jointed leg-like fins which allowed them to crawl along the sea floor. And incredibly, the mudskipper pictured above is part of that same family. And not only were their bodies in an evolutionary deviation, but their minds were too!

In a recent study, fossils from 500 million year old rocks were found to have be exhibiting extraordinary ways of dealing with issues of protection as well as dry skin! Likened to the modern hermit crab, these brave explorers would adopt abandoned shells they probably found on their way toward the tidal flats and beaches where they could feed. And not only would the hard shell protect and disguise their fleshy body, but the inner chamber would also enable their gills to stay moist! Effectively using the shell as a tool to facilitate their terrestrial adventures into the unknown. Clever crawlers indeed.

Yet if the search for a shell was anything like the BBC Earth hermit crab video below, it may give us an idea why the animals of the oxygen-rich marine waters also developed other ways of living on land. Hot competition or what?

While acquiring many unique methods for biological, behavioural and ecological adjustment, amphibians have positioned themselves as one of the most innovative species on the planet. Always subject to change, the now three modern orders of amphibians that include; frogs and toads, salamanders and newts, and caecilians which are limbless amphibians that mostly resemble snakes. Still retain a role which is vital to human society and it’s survival.

Whether it’s substances created from their glands that provide principle source for our medicines. Or if it’s the eating of insects, therefore lowering the potential for insect-borne disease to spread. Humans owe amphibians tremendous respect.

And it’s not only what they’ve done but what they are doing right now. Genetic researchers have recently found that frog DNA has several genes arranged in the same order as in humans. And one of these genes known as p21 has the ability to block, and more importantly unblock the power to heal – but not just heal, recreate! Still at the very early stages of study, this just proves that although it may have been a very slow crawl from water to land, it was definitely worth the wait!

This post originally appeared on BBCEarth.

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Photo credit: BBCEarth
By Adelle Havard at BBCEarth

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28 comments

+ add your own
6:41AM PDT on Oct 26, 2011

Noted!

11:04AM PDT on May 2, 2011

THANKS........!!!!!!!....

8:24AM PDT on Apr 24, 2011

Thanks for sharing =]

8:29AM PDT on Apr 20, 2011

Read and noted!

10:44AM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

Wow! too bad that the little snail had to die to give the hermit a house, but that's just a way of life, at least everything gets recycled!

1:41AM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

Cool video. thanks for sharing.

9:55PM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

Really interesting.

5:02AM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

THANKS 2 INFORM

11:19PM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

You guys, you just have to "fast-click" over the part where anything gets eaten (or fast-forward if on TV or a tape)... I cannot stand watching anything get eaten; I can only imagine the growing discomfort and alarm of the eat-ee... Can you even IMAGINE being eaten alive?! YUCK! Nightmares for sure. I love nature, but violent death is not an enjoyable spectator sport -- and I wouldn't want to know anyone who found it such.

PS, Pam, for what it's worth, I'm going to have a green funeral so I WILL be able to feed the planet one of these years.

9:33PM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

neat.

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