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The Fish That Breathes Air

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A lungfish spends each dry season asleep underground, waiting for the waters to arrive before emerging. As the waterhole dries up at the end of the wet season, it will bury down to spend the dry season safely cocooned in the mud.

TRANSCRIPT

- [Narrator] One character has waited months for the water to return.

A lungfish spends each dry season asleep underground.

It's a living fossil.

A fish with primitive limbs that breathes air.

And now there's water.

Every few minutes it must surface to breathe.

In the space of a few weeks the waterhole has been transformed.

The only life that remains is confined to a few elephant footprints.

The lungfish must move now.

It uses its powerful jaws and primitive limbs to leave the water in the same way that its relatives did when they colonized the land hundreds of millions of years ago.

It will bury down to spend the dry season safely cocooned in the mud.

The lungfish is estivating.

His metabolism is slow to a rate just efficient to keep it alive.

It can survive like this for up to five years.

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