Monday, April 10, 2006

First fossil of fish that crawled onto land discovered

It was one of the most important events of the last 400 million years: the moment our fishy ancestors began hauling themselves onto dry land. Now a fossil from the very beginning of that crucial transition has been found in the remote Arctic.

Palaeontologists didn't previously have a decent fossil representing the intermediate between finned fish and four-footed land animals, or tetrapods (Tetrapods evolved from lobe-finned fishes between 380 and 365 million years ago). The new animal has been named Tiktaalik.