When Flammang first saw the pink fish in footage taken by co-author Daphne Soares, she was blown away by its salamander-esque wiggle. There are other fish that use their fins in feetlike ways, but Cryptotora thamicola takes the skill to new heights.
“I was like, ‘Fish can’t do that,’” Flammang told Wired. “That’s ridiculous.”
Plunged into complete darkness inside caves in Thailand, the fish stick fast to the rock behind flowing waterfalls and climb their way to the top. That's unusual, as the researchers explain in the above video, because they wouldn't expect eyeless fish to be able to function so well in fast-flowing water.
Scientists think the ancestors of land animals must have moved in similar ways when they first dragged themselves out of the sea.
“From an evolutionary perspective, this is a huge finding,” Flammang told Discovery News. “This is one of the first fish that we have as a living species that acts in a way that we think they must have acted when they evolved from a fluid environment to a terrestrial environment.”