Getting in touch with our inner fish!

Scientists have discovered a 375 million year old fossil in Arctic Canada called the Tiktaalik, which they believe to be the remains of the first creature to leave the water and start live on terra firma. Their fins had strong interior bones that allowed for evolution of all quadruped (and thence biped) life. So this fish is responsible for the shift of Life on Earth from the aquatic to the terrestrial. “Interesting and so what?!” you may be musing…

Let me blend in another scientific factoid. There is a branch of science called Evolutionary Development (evo devo) which looks at the process by which organisms evolve, and what that shows is that rather than different organisms having radically different sets of genes, in fact they are remarkably similar (for more interesting facts on these similarities read this article), in fact, we share about 60% our genes with the humble fruit fly. It is just that the process of evo devo has shuffled our genetic ‘decks’ in different ways. It reminds me of Eric Morecombe’s famous quote “I am playing all the right notes.. but not necessarily in the right order!”. So we have all the right / same genes just organised differently.

This got me thinking about all the potential we have as human beings and what we are innately capable of, given half the chance; and guess what? The person who most often fails to give us that chance is us! That little negative voice that tells us we are bound to fail, so what is the point in bothering… If a fish can learn to walk and to breathe on land, then what are we capable of? And from that first, small fishy footstep, look what ensued! So today I would encourage you to bit a bit braver, and take a step into the unknown… who knows where it might lead you.

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of that which is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope”

2 Responses to “Getting in touch with our inner fish!”

  1. SarahArrow says:

    Hi Richard, Keep blogging you really get us thinking! Did you know the Bonobo monkey shares 96% of our gene pool? I didn’t until a few weeks ago, I found it quite fascinating – the scope for saving human life through transplants perhaps? Not sure how that would work morally or ethically, but its worth a thought.

  2. Given that we still share 60% with the fruit fly I hope that logic doesn’t continue and lead you to wondering which of their bits we might borrow too ;)

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