The Mayan apocalypse calendar is winding down, the big hand on its doomsday clock ticking us ever-closer to our ill-fated day of reckoning. In little over a week, if the calendar, last resent in 3114 B.C., is to be trusted, the world will end on December 21, 2012, either by zombie attack, Gangnam Style overload or Kevin Youkilis’ first appearance in pinstripes. If you’re not too busy hoarding canned goods or stealing your neighbor’s generator, I’m having a Mayan Apocalypse party at my place. Hazmat suits optional.

Admittedly, I’m not ready to jump on the Mayan apocalypse bandwagon just yet, preferring to think the calendar pages will turn on for many millenia to come–or at least until the Giants (Mayan God forbid) win another Super Bowl. That said, I’ll be reporting the news until the very last either way. To that end, is my Sensational Sonar on high alert, or have increasing headlines around the globe been mysteriously madcap these past few days? I reported yesterday on alleged UFO sightings seen over Brooklyn and San Francisco. Today, the earth-tilting insanity turns to the seas …

In the spirit of scientific exploration to the very end, I give you Today’s Sign of the Mayan Apocalypse

More than 300 million years ago, a fish grew legs, walked out of water, and made way for mankind as we know it. Since that day, or at least for a couple years now, genetic researchers have been attempting to replicate this evolutionary turning point.

According to Gizmodo, a team of genetic researchers from the Pablo de Olavide University in Seville, Spain, has succeeded, at long last creating what society has been itching for for eons: a fish with legs. Or, more poetically, Frankenfish.

More specifically, the team targeted a specific gene cluster, called HOXD13, that controls our body structure, discovering that overexpressing this gene can result in the actual growth of limbs. Armed with this knowledge, they tripped over one another to find the nearest zebrafish, and proceeded to transform its tiny fins into tiny fists.

Therefore, “by manipulating this gene,” said Gozmodo, “they were able to grow legs on zebra fishes that resemble those in tetrapods, the superclass of animals that include all living and extinct amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.”

I have a constellation of questions about this, but here’s the most important from a scientific standpoint: I know they’re relatively new to this, but I think everyone’s wondering why said scientists didn’t start with a dolphin. Am I right? @Gizmodo offers another good one:

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I nominate vocal cords, so when the Mayan apocalypse comes … and goes, the fish can say “I told you so” right along with the rest of us.


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