Fish Out of Water Learn to Walk

Around 400 million years ago, fish left the water and started to evolve into land-loving creatures. But how did the transition happen? A new and unusual experiment could shed some light on the kinds of changes that enabled fins to become limbs. Researchers took a fish species known to be able to walk on its fins from time to time, and raised it on land. Watch the fish promenade in this Nature Video.

Read the paper:

Read the News & Views:

Ta-Nehisi Coates and the case for reparations

In a wide-ranging interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, Ta-Nehisi Coates explains how he reported his essay in The Atlantic on “The Case for Reparations,” why he tries to approach journalism as a historian rather than as a “Senate aide,” and what you should read next if you want to understand American racism.

Read the article here: The Atlantic

* This is a long interview, but its really well worth the watch. (Pls don’t fucking argue with me about this unless you watch the whole thing, or have read the article.)

TedTalks - Edith Widder: How We Found the Giant Squid

Humankind has been looking for the giant squid (Architeuthis) since we first started taking pictures underwater. But the elusive deep-sea predator could never be caught on film. Oceanographer and inventor Edith Widder shares the key insight — and the teamwork — that helped to capture the squid on camera for the first time.

(via: TED - YouTube)

A Conversation With ‘Her Deepness’

Sylvia Earle, the greatest living ocean explorer, sits down with OnEarth.

She knows the ocean better than any other person alive. Reverently nicknamed “Her Deepness,” Sylvia Earle has spent 7,000 hours underwater over seven decades.

And on those dives she has witnessed first hand the havoc we wreak upon the sea—from coral bleaching and shark finning to the disappearance of once-abundant species such as tuna and menhaden. She has received virtually every honor in exploration and conservation science, and has served as chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. When Sylvia Earle talks about the ocean, you listen.

Mission Blue, a documentary about her life and work that carries the name of Dr. Earle’s ocean conservation organization, debuts today on Netflix and in theatres. She spoke with OnEarth about her career, the film, and, of course, the state of the world’s oceans.„

(read more: On Earth)

Vampire Plant Also Sucks Hosts Genes, While Feeding

by Tanya Lewis

Like an herbivorous Count Dracula, a snakelike vine coils around its leafy victim, punctures its stem and proceeds to suck out its life juices.

The parasitic plant Cuscuta pentagona, commonly known as strangleweed or dodder, preys on many common crop plants. Not only does the parasite siphon water and nutrients from its host, but it also exchanges genetic messages with its victim, according to a study detailed today (Aug. 15) in the journal Science.

The findings reveal a new way that plants communicate with each other, and the study may help scientists understand how to combat parasitic plants that destroy food crops around the world, the researchers said.

(via: Live Science)

First Video of Living and Enormous Deep Sea Crustacean

Well, enormous for an Amphipod…

by Sandrine Ceurstemont

Living in one of the Earth’s deepest ocean trenches, the world’s largest species of amphipod has so far managed to avoid the videos of the paparazzi. But during an expedition to the Kermadec trench off the coast of New Zealand in April, Alan Jamieson from the University of Aberdeen, UK, and his colleagues filmed a living Alicella gigantean for the first time, more than 7 kilometres below the ocean surface.

The video captures a feeding frenzy of deep-sea snailfish, Notoliparis kermadecensis sociable fish that are well-adapted to the extreme pressure, total darkness and cold temperatures at such depths.

Cruising along the left-hand side of the video, the white shrimp-like creature is the newly spotted Alicella gigantea. It is between 20 and 25 centimetres long, 10 times larger than similar amphipods discovered in other deep-sea locations – although Jamieson previously snapped, but did not video, an even bigger one – a 34-centimetre giant…

(read more: New Scientist)

Someone who knows Aussie pythons better than me… is this an Olive Python (Liasis olivaceus)?


Watch this adorable climate scientist explain sea-level rise with a gin & tonic

by Darby Minow Smith

A stranger at a bar challenged scientist Adam Levy on climate change. In a video response, Levy uses a classic cocktail to show how rising temperatures affect sea-level rise. Climate science, booze, and adorable Commonwealth accents? Count us in.

Remember: Do not try this at home (adding salt to a beautiful gin & tonic, that is).