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What If Fish Had Legs?

"What If Fish Had Legs?" episode art. Cartoon fish with legs and big eye.


NGSS Standards:




Crosscutting Concepts:


Cause and Effect

Transcript-What If Fish Had Legs
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Fish with legs? Crazy, right? Turns out, fish with legs are a lot more real than you might think! We teamed up with What If World, one of our favorite storytelling podcasts, to answer this question both scientifically and creatively! In our “science version,” we consult with the funniest fish biologist you’ll ever meet, Solomon David. He’s obsessed with creating puns for gars, the prehistoric fish that he studies. And he explains why fish are the reason that we have legs! Plus, you’ll meet fish that can “walk” on land. It’s totally crazy.

After you listen, you’ll want to tune into What If World to hear Marshall and Lindsay guest-star in a story about their pet gar who grows legs and puts them in a tank! It’s the “creative version” of the story, and What If World’s 200th episode!

Meet Solomon and #garpuns

Solomon David is The Gar Guy. Here he is with a gar, which we all know is a pirate's favorite fish!

Solomon David holding a gar on a boat.

Check out the website for Solomon's lab to learn more about his research.

But he's best known on social media for his relentless gar puns.

What started Solomon's love for gars? An article in Ranger Rick magazine, a science magazine for kids! He brought it full circle by writing an article in the same magazine about how he got started as a gar scientist.

Solomon has been featured on many other podcasts. For example, the fish-loving podcast "Fish of the Week!" featured Solomon talking about his beloved alligator gars.

Listen below:

Meet Tiktaalik

Tiktaalik is considered the link between life on the sea and life on land, with its walking-friendly fins.

It's helpful to have an image of what this fossil fish might have looked like. Artist's rendition below! (What a happy golden boy, right?)

Artists' rendition of a Tiktaalik

This page from the University of Chicago, which had a hand in discovering the fossil, is a great educational resource to get basic info about Tiktaalik.

Tiktaalik is such an important fossil in the history of evolution, there's lots of educational videos about it. Here's one from HHMI Biointeractive.

Tiktaalik was also the star of a PBS series by scientist and science writer Neil Shubin. It's called "Your Inner Fish."

(If you're outside the US and PBS is not available to you, watch it here)


The Duck Boats of the fish world, we call them. Solomon specifically recommended this great TED-Ed video to learn about all types of walking fish!

You must see them to believe them. Here's a few of our leg fin faves:




And not a walking-on-land fish, but a walking-underwater fish and able-to-survive-without-water fish, LUNG FISH


Listen here!

On What If World's 200th episode, Mr. Eric’s friends Lindsay and Marshall from Tumble get swept away to What If World… again! Can they enjoy living in an air tank while their fish grows legs and tries to take care of them?


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