"Why do you want to kill the fish, Cowboy Bob? That's cruel!"
No, look closer. One word, three syllables. "Kill" is an old Dutch word for river; I live near the Catskills. So, the meaning of killifish is "fish of the brook". Of course, some killifish can be good eatin', but that's not the subject today.
So anyway, when industrialists were using Darwinian-based laissez-faire capitalism and dumping sewage into the water, they commenced to not only pollute, but killed off many critters as well as a passel of fish.
|Waccamaw killifish image credit:|
Fritz Rhode / North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources / public domain
Industrialists dumped potent pollutants into Atlantic bays in the 1950s and 1960s, killing all kinds of fish. Even today, few fish brave those waters. A team of scientists led by Andrew Whitehead of University of California, Davis recently sequenced and analyzed the genomes of almost 400 Atlantic killifish to try to find out how these fish survive the polluted waters while other kinds don’t. They found good, scientific answers but framed them in wildly unscientific terms.To finish reading, click on "Fast-Changing Killifish Swim Past Evolution".
The researchers discovered that killifish survive by using their elaborate array of genes, including some that help them manage poisons. Like having Swiss army knives instead of flint knives, these fishes’ genetic gizmos enable them to solve more environmental challenges than other fish can handle. UC Davis News gave this finding a strong evolutionary spin: