Posted by PZ Myers on April 5, 2006 01:25 PM

Paleontologists have uncovered yet another specimen in the lineage leading to modern tetrapods, creating more gaps that will need to be filled. It's a Sisyphean job, working as an evolutionist.

tiktaalik_sm.jpg

This creature is called Tiktaalik roseae, and it was discovered in a project that was specifically launched to find a predicted intermediate form between a distinctly fish-like organism, Panderichthys, and the distinctly tetrapod-like organisms, Acanthostega and Ichthyostega. From the review article by Ahlberg and Clack, we get this summary of Tiktaalik's importance:

First, it demonstrates the predictive capacity of palaeontology. The Nunavut field project had the express aim of finding an intermediate between Panderichthys and tetrapods, by searching in sediments from the most probable environment (rivers) and time (early Late Devonian). Second, Tiktaalik adds enormously to our understanding of the fish–tetrapod transition because of its position on the tree and the combination of characters it displays.

Continue reading "Tiktaalik makes another gap" (on Pharyngula)