Tiktaalik is transitional between lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods

News is flashing around the world about a spectacular fossil. The Ottawa Citizen has a nice article about it: the finding of a large fish with bony fins, sturdy ribs and a bendable neck, but fish scales. It fulfills the predictions of evolutionary scientists about the anatomy of a transitional fossil between lobe-finned fishes and primitive tetrapods. It fits in neatly between Panderichthys and Acanthostega.

Scientists searched for four years at the right level (375 million years ago) in the right environment (former shallow swamps) before finding three well-preserved, three-dimensional fossils of vaguely crocodilian fish four to nine feet long.

Read a layman’s article at The Harvard Gazette: “Missing Link Crawls out of Muck” or the scientific viewpoint at Living the Scientific Life: “Missing Link” and Pharyngula: “Tiktaalik makes another gap”.

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