Sandfish

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The sandfish (Scincus scincus) is a species of desert skink that has a nifty trick for evading predators (or just the hot sun): it submerges itself in the sand and literally swims though it — thus the name.

The species has always been known to be an exceptional burrower, but recent experiments utilising x-ray imagery have shown that it doesn’t dig using it’s limbs as one might expect, but holds them fast against its body while using graceful side-to-side undulations to push itself forward, much like a snake swimming in water. Check out the video the researchers have posted online; it’s really quite impressive.

The thing I really love about discoveries like this is that it really highlights just how diverse and incredible life on Earth is. It doesn’t matter how outlandish something sounds; if its a viable way of getting around, finding food, catching food, or eating food, then something, somewhere is almost certain to be doing it.

Also, the BBC has an extremely cute image of one surfacing.

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