Fish With Front Legs

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Fish with front legs found according to articles 5 April 2006, in Nature and news@nature. A team of researchers led by Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago, and Edward Daeschler of the Academy of natural Sciences, Philadelphia, have found fossils believed to be "an intermediate between a fish with fins and a tetrapod with limbs". The fossils were found on Ellesmere island in Northern Canada and include a "a near complete front half of a fossilised skeleton of a crocodile-like creature, whose skull is about 20 cm (8 ins) long). The front fins of the creature contain arm bones, with elbow and wrist joints but with fins instead of hands. The animal also had a crocodile-like head with eyes on the top and lacked a bony gill cover. It had bony scales and robust ribs, although its spine is poorly preserved. The researchers believe it used its front limbs to walk in shallow water. A "News and Views" article in Nature claims that the new fossil, named Tiktaalik roseae, "might in time become as much of an evolutionary icon as the proto-bird Archaeopteryx."

Editorial Comment: What has amazed us about this report is that it has failed to catch the public imagination. In the time since this discovery was announced and promoted heavily in Time etc., only one university student has asked about it in a debate. Perhaps the fact that we already have living fishes Down Under that climb trees, sunbake and jump off branches into the water just for fun, makes the hype appear hyper. These cute Aussie Mud Skippers have shown no sign of evolving. Perhaps the fact that the fossil is very incomplete and so it has been difficult to convince the public exactly what kind of animal it was.

The fact that the fossil creature no longer exists does not prove it evolved into a land animal. It simply proves that like many other creatures we only know as fossils, it has died out, and extinction is no help to evolution, but fits the Biblical history of the world. (Ref. transition, fossilisation, evolution)

Evidence News 9 August 2006

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