When Fish First Breathed Air

  • Published on: 19 June 2018
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    385 million years ago, a group of fish would undertake one of the most important journeys in the history of life and become the first vertebrates to live on dry ground. But first, they had to acquire the ability to breathe air.

    Thanks to Ceri Thomas for the Ichthyostega reconstruction. Check out more of Ceri's paleoart at http://alphynix.tumblr.com and http://nixillustration.com

    And thanks as always to Nobumichi Tamura for allowing us to use his wonderful paleoart: http://spinops.blogspot.com/

    Lastly, this episode (as well as most episodes of Eons) features beautiful paleoart from Studio 252mya. We dare you to try to not spend hours looking at their work: http://252mya.com

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios

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  • Runtime : 9:8
  • dinosaurs dinos paleo paleontology scishow eons pbs pbs digital studios hank green john green complexly fossils natural history arthropods fish breathing air lungs gills Eusthenopteron Ichthyostega Tiktaalik lobe-finned fish spiracular tract bichir mudskipper tetrapodomorphs swim bladder Devonian Oxygen skull-hole oceans


  • Joe Gonzo
    Joe Gonzo   12 hours ago

    Alligator gar can breath air too due to the low oxygen in muddy waters and been around for 150 million years I believe

  • Merrigale Beddoes
    Merrigale Beddoes   5 days ago

    I used to have 3 fish tanks in my barracks room and would go home at lunch to feed the fish. One day I went home to feed and to check on the new betta had gotten the day before. I couldn’t find the betta anywhere, even in any of.the many hiding places. When I got back that evening, I realized I had left the flap at the back of the tank cover open all day. Knowing that bettas would jump out of tanks, I began looking around the room and found him trapped in a dust bunny under the dresser. Knowing he had been out of the water for at least 4 hours, I reached under to retrieve the dead fish. He jumped away from my hand. I caught him, pick the lint off of him, and returned him to the tank. He was still fine a couple years later when I left to go back to language school and bequeathed my fish to a friend. So it seems not all air-breathing fish can walk on land.

  • 熱血改善
    熱血改善   6 days ago

    Kids nowadays are all Tik Tok, but no one acknowledges who was Tiktaalik.

  • Cats Rise
    Cats Rise   1 weeks ago

    The title: When the first fish breathes aitMe: When they die

  • Cassius Clay
    Cassius Clay   1 weeks ago

    The mystery of this seems to be hidden in northern Canada

  • Mehakjot Singh Sidhu
    Mehakjot Singh Sidhu   1 weeks ago

    It was not because of low oxygen levels. Instead, It was because of a rather simple incident- when a male fish once became fed up from his female partner's daily illogical nonsense and decided to come out of water.😂

  • Dwight St John
    Dwight St John   1 weeks ago

    GO CANADA; so the latest discoveries are almost all in Canada and Greenland? Cooooooooooooool. I'm mean "cold".

  • Jed Dimich
    Jed Dimich   1 weeks ago

    Not one word about the arapaima....I am a little bummed!!!!! LOL JK

  • Danny Mcmindes
    Danny Mcmindes   1 weeks ago

    anyone that has had a gold fish and forgotten to turn the air bubbler on? will know that they gulp air. basically the start to being an air breathing organism. huge, orange, and hungry....

  • J
    J   2 weeks ago

    I wonder what will come from oceans nowadays when we'll turn them into plastic trash graveyard...

  • Azami Mido
    Azami Mido   2 weeks ago

    I just wanna say, i love your channel and videos, history fascinates me, and you guys always deliver! I hope to one day make a career off of studying the history of our beautiful earth, thank you so much, you all make me so happy:)

  • Ayden Belcourt
    Ayden Belcourt   2 weeks ago

    The first breath of fresh air probably got them high they just had to live on land, but after millions of years of evolution it gave all the species a tollerance that's why we don't get high off oxygen any more sometimes my genius it's terrifying.

  • Sean Kennedy
    Sean Kennedy   2 weeks ago

    Continue to love this channel! I wish I could share a picture of beautiful lungfish :)

  • Cyander
    Cyander   2 weeks ago

    I guess that fish got seasick

  • DJS Squibbs
    DJS Squibbs   3 weeks ago

    They might have tried to get out of the water because of predators-- I'm definitely no scientist but if there were a lot of things that we're trying to eat me in the water I would try to get out of the water if I could breathe air.

  • Joshua Patrick
    Joshua Patrick   3 weeks ago

    They suffocated and died and that trait wasn’t passed to their offspring because they died...unless they are arapaima which didn’t evolve and still exists in its primeval form

  • Mikey B
    Mikey B   3 weeks ago

    She spent most of the presentation in conflict with herself about the position of air holes?..... not a very convincing argument/ case for evidence of the title.....

  • Paweł F.
    Paweł F.   4 weeks ago

    Fish could consume air and digest oxygene milions years ago, many do still today. The organ is called labirynth. That could have started life on dry ground.

  • Abe bobby
    Abe bobby   4 weeks ago

    So, can people evolve and start breathing in water?

  • Mega Pelotes
    Mega Pelotes   1 months ago

    :D biology is so complicated, yet the product of biology is incredibly simple (including us humans)

  • vegan portugese
    vegan portugese   1 months ago

    Thank you so much my fish grandfather and grandmother if not for you i wouldnt be alive love you so much❤❤

  • Ken Shackleton
    Ken Shackleton   1 months ago

    It should have been mentioned that the tetrapods are descended of fresh water fish, not marine fish.

  • Coug
    Coug   1 months ago

    Still a fish that literally surfaces to breathe air, today. The Arapaima.

  • Dr.Rajasaurus and Uncle Bonecrack

    4:37 that's like convergent evolution with whales but backwards, here blowhole became nose, so originally blowhole came first and gave rise to nose!

  • Heydar Aqayee
    Heydar Aqayee   1 months ago

    It was always a big question for me . Also I wonder how reptiles first developed breasts to become mammals?