|"I'm not a fishhh, not yet an amphiiiiiibian..."
||[Apr. 14th, 2008|08:53 am]
In today's edition of evolutionary WTF, we're going to meet the first ancient creature that really could enjoy long walks on the beach, the Tiktaalik:
Up to 8 or 9 feet long, this enormous "fishapod" lived 375 million years ago and represents the former missing link of the transition from fish to amphibians that could venture up on land. After probably spotting a tasty snack on the beach or otherwise, the Tiktaalik had the audacity to grow functioning wrist bones, a stronger ribcage and a working neck in order to venture out of the water and catch prey while being able to support its own weight. Even crazier, these complex developments took likely the better part of 20 million years!
Scientists say that it probably emulated its modern reptile descendants in behavior, likely laying out on the beach enjoying the Devonian sunshine, and the ability to now wade in to shallow deltas provided an optimal environment for their young to grow out of the reach of larger predators.
The Tiktaalik is unique in that all fossils found before it were either fish with amphibian characteristics or amphibians with remaining fish characteristics. This smiley guy is truly neither, and took lobe fins to the next level with its development of... well, fish fingers really.