Are we all perhaps linked by invisible bonds? Do the actions of one affect others, even if those others are far away? Our lives and the universe itself may be all part of a single mechanism in which all creatures and events are 'entangled' with one another.

Friday, April 07, 2006

An Old Fossil

No, I'm not talking about myself, but a recent scientific discovery of a fossil of an animal that is a link between fish and four-legged land animals.

"Missing link" fossil:

PhotoPARIS (AFP) - In the beginning, there was the sea... and little by little, the fish in the sea moved on to the land, evolving into the myriad species of animals that have lived, eaten or been eaten, fought and died on terra firma for more than 300 million years.

But when did these extraordinary events take place? And how did they happen? How did fish develop the ability to support the weight of their body out of water and to move around on land?

The answers, say American palaeontologists, lie in astonishingly detailed fossils that have been coaxed out of ancient rock just a thousand kilometres (600 miles) from the North Pole.

The newly-discovered species, dubbed Tiktaalik roseae, looks superficially like a crocodile, with a skull around 20 centimetres (eight inches) long.

The sediment in which Tiktaalik was found has been dated to around 375 million years ago, in the swampy primeval era known as the Devonian.

"The skeleton of Tiktaalik indicates that it could support its body under the force of gravity, whether in very shallow water or on land," said co-author Farish Jenkins, a professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University.

"This represents a critical early phase in the evolution of all limbed animals, including humans -- albeit a very ancient step."

Related links:
1- Wikipedia
2- NPR

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