The Loh Down On Science

Fish Heads

Oxygen deprivation makes fish heads smaller. Surprisingly, it's good for the fish.

Talk about an extreme makeover!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

and on how cichlid [sick-lid] fish in Africa have redesigned their HEADS to stay alive!

Researchers from the Netherlands recently examined every slimy inch of some cichlid museum specimens.

The fish had been collected from the Tanzanian side of Lake Victoria between 1977 and 2001 -- from a site that had experienced a dramatic drop in oxygen levels starting around 1990.

The anatomy told an AMAZING fish story.

Even in those oxygen-deprived waters, the species didn't suffocate toward extinction. Instead, it morphed!

Over just two decades, the length and volume of fishy heads got smaller, while cheek depth swelled. Eyes became less bulgy and underlying muscle structure got shuffled around.

ALL this happened to give the fishes' gills some breathing room--they became a whopping SIXTY-FOUR percent bigger.

The fish may now have TEENY tiny brains, but at least they can breathe.

Much like OUR aquarium fish Sunny and Goldie. Can't seem to find their way around the castle and there's only one door, but. . . NEVER MIND.


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