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The Evolutionary Lungfish

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[Transcription: Kuday Karaaslan] Southern Africa is home to a very primitive fish with some extraordinary abilities. It's the lungfish. And while it has gills like any other fish, it can also breath air directly using a modified swim bladder that acts as a lung. When water levels are high, this isn't so important. But the rains will eventually fail. And the constant burning sun will dry up all the water. Fish are left fluttering at the surface as the waters disappear. Only the air gulping lungfish is able to cope with these extreme conditions. But it still exposed to the heat and it still at risk from predators. So it relies on another even more extraordinary ability. It finds a new safer home buried underground. Digging down by eating mud and pushing it out thru its gills. To stop it drying out, the lungfish excudes a special mucus from its skin. Covering itself in a thick layer that hardens to form a waterproof cocoon. Only a single hole is left for breathing. Baked into these muds are coughegeous, the lungfish slows its metabolism to 1/60 of its original rate relying on its muscles and body fat as a source of food and water. It becomes just another piece of harden mud. And lungfish have even been known to end up as an accidental brick in a mud-hud wall. But this isn't the end for the lungfish. It can survive like this for an incredible 4 years. Eventually, it could end up poisoned by its own waste products. But in this case, the onset of the rains is its salvation. As the mud walls are washed away, the lungfish's hard mucus lining is softened. It's been 4 years since it last used its muscles and they're very weak. But as it breaks free of this mud cocoon, it still manages to drag itself towards the nearest source of water. It's the ultimate survivor. And altough it's under water now, it will soon back in the mud repeating the whole process again and again as the annual rains come and go.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 25 seconds
Country: Turkey
Language: English
Views: 743
Posted by: kuday on Jun 27, 2011

Güney Afrika'da yaşayan akciğer balıkları su dışında nefes alma yeteneğine sahiptir. Bu balıklar 4 yıl boyunca yağmur ya da su olmadan kuraklık uykusunda hayatta kalabilirler.

In Africa, the lungfish has the capability of breathing air outside of the water. Without rain or water, the lungfish can hibernate for four years.

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