A discovery about one of the first animals to walk on land!

About 365 million years ago, a group of fish left the water and began to live on land. These early animals were quadrupeds.

It belongs to a pedigree that includes several thousand species, including amphibians, birds, lizards, and mammals.

The new fossil indicates that, unlike other closely related animals that used their fins to support their bodies on the bottom of the water and could occasionally come out onto land, the newly discovered creature had fins designed for swimming.

In March 2020 Thomas was StuartPhD, assistant professor of biology at the University of Chicago and member of biologist Neil Shubin’s lab, is working with Justin Limberg, another researcher in the group, to process the fossil, which was collected back in 2004 during an expedition to the Canadian Arctic.

From the surface of the rock into which it was embedded, we could see fragments of jaws about 2 inches long (5 cm) with pointed teeth. There were also patches of white scales with texture. The autopsy gave subtle hints that the fossil was an early tetrapod.

The researchers used a technique called computed tomography, in which X-rays pass through a sample to find anything that might be hidden inside out of view.

On March 13, they examined a small piece of rock with several scales on top and found that a whole fin was buried inside it. A few days later, the lab and campus were closed due to COVID-19.

Such a fin is possibly very valuable and could give scientists insight into how early tetrapods evolved and lived hundreds of millions of years ago. For example, based on the shape of certain skeletal bones, a prediction can be made about whether an animal swims or walks.

When he was allowed back on campus, a professor in the university’s Department of Geosciences offered to help cut the block with a stone saw. This made the block more ribbed and less rocky, allowing the fin to be better scanned and viewed closer.

When the dust was removed and data on the jaws, scales and fins were completed, the researchers realized that this animal was a new species. Moreover, it turns out that this is one of the closest known relatives of the limbs of vertebrates – those creatures with fingers and toes.

He named it Qikiqtania Wakei. And when fish were alive, several hundred million years ago, the environment was warm with rivers and streams.

Qikiqtania tells a lot about a critical period in the history of our dynasty. Its scales unambiguously tell researchers that it lived underwater. It shows the sensory channels that would allow an animal to detect the flow of water around its body.

But the pectoral fin of the Qikiqtania is the most surprising. It contains the humerus, just like the top of our arm.

Early tetrapods such as Tiktaalik have a shoulder protrusion with a prominent margin on the underside and a distinct set of protrusions to which muscles attach. These bony appendages tell us that early tetrapods lived at the bottom of lakes and streams, using their fins or arms to support themselves, first on the bottom underwater and then on land.

While other early tetrapods were playing at the water’s edge, exploring what the land had to offer, Qikiqtania was doing something else – a humerus unlike anything known. Researchers believe this shows that Qikiqtania has returned from the water’s edge and evolved to live again on land and in open water.

While it may seem that early tetrapods inevitably moved towards life on land, Qikiqtania accurately shows the limits of such a directional perspective.

and provide fossil A look at the wider variety and variety of fish lifestyles as they move from water to land.

Source: Science Alert.