“The climbing perch is a freshwater fish native to Papua New Guinea, olive green color and about 10 inches long. So not too big, but it’s kind of a tough guy. Dr. Nathan Waltham, a researcher at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, says its gills cover both sides of its head. “It can extend that out and it can lock those into place. And along the edge of those gill plates are sharp spines,” he says.
“Waltham is an expert on the climbing perch and what its fierce-looking gills can do. “They can flex out those gill plates on the side of the head, which means they can actually – with the sharp spines – leverage themselves across land,” Waltham says. “So if you can visualize a water hole that’s drying up, conditions becoming unfavorable – and this fish can detect that and decide then to move out of that water. So by using those sharp spines [it can] drag itself out, move across land and find a new water hole to take refuge.”
Waltham made the comments about the unorthodox fish while in a talk show broadcast on Australian national television, which also featured Pat Robertson as a guest. Surprisingly, Robertson asked Waltham if he knew anything about the origin of the species. “That’s actually something that I’ve only just started to look into recently,” Waltham replied.
“Ah, well maybe I can help you out with that,” Robertson commented, to the surprise of both Waltham and the talk show host. “You see, it is my belief that those gills that the fish is able to use for legs are actually remnants of real legs. You know, like the kind we humans have. In fact, I think the whole species de-evolved back from humans into those types of fish, and all that happened because they chose to deny the existence of the almighty God. So essentially, they turned atheists, and then they turned to fish,” Robertson said.
He added: “And it kind of makes sense, if you think about it. They’re obviously intelligent enough to be able to sense danger, but not only that; they’re prudent enough to save themselves. That sounds a lot like what we humans are capable of doing.” Then Waltham stepped in, saying, “Indeed, but that’s not exclusively a human trait; all beings on the planet are capable of sensing danger and making efforts to avoid it, it’s an evolutionary trait.” But Robertson wouldn’t be convinced: “Yes, but how many other species do you know that pretend to be all fine and dandy, lazy even, but then grow a pair of legs when push comes to shove?”
Robertson’s comments made everybody in the studio laugh and have since become viral on the Internet. However, he looked quite serious while making them, and even finished up his address by stating: “There you have it, kids – have faith in your God and you won’t end up a fish. Don’t go and get any funny ideas, religion is a serious thing.”