365 million-year-old amphibian discovered in Latvia


This video is called Transitional Fossil: Fish to Amphibians.

From ABC News in the USA:

Fossil of most primitive 4-legged creature found in Latvia; lived eons before dinosaurs

By SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON June 25, 2008

Scientists unearthed a skull of the most primitive four-legged creature in Earth’s history, which should help them better understand the evolution of fish to advanced animals that walk on land.

The 365 million-year-old fossil skull, shoulders and part of the pelvis of the water-dweller, Ventastega curonica, were found in Latvia, researchers report in a study published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature. Even though Ventastega is likely an evolutionary dead-end, the finding sheds new details on the evolutionary transition from fish to tetrapods. Tetrapods are animals with four limbs and include such descendants as amphibians, birds and mammals.

While an earlier discovery found a slightly older animal that was more fish than tetrapod, Ventastega is more tetrapod than fish. The fierce-looking creature probably swam through shallow brackish waters, measured about three or four feet long and ate other fish. It likely had stubby limbs with an unknown number of digits, scientists said.

See also here. And here. And here. And here. And here.

According to Jennifer Clack, a paleontologist at the University of Cambridge who has studied the fossils of these extinct creatures for more than two decades, the earliest land vertebrates — also known as tetrapods — were more diverse than we could possibly imagine: here.

7 thoughts on “365 million-year-old amphibian discovered in Latvia

  1. This raises doubts. A more complex creature was discovered that is OLDER than this new one? How exactly does evolution work anyway? Random mutation in genes? Why then can’t science (with all the knowledge we have accumulated) not produce some mutations these days so we can see some evolution in progress? Not within species, either. I mean a NEW species. If it can happen randomly in nature, why can’t smart people do it? (evolution, that is)

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  2. And why can’t smart people create a volcano? Or move earth’s techtonic plates? Why haven’t
    smart people crashed an asteroid into the earth to see if the dinosaurs will come back?
    It’s the same reason why God could never create a Burrito so spicy that not even He could
    eat it.
    Personally I believe in punctuated equilibrium, which for the layperson means evolution of
    new species rarely happens unless something big and catastrophic happens, usually something
    that isolates part of a population of a species and forces it to develop unique
    characteristics. Otherwise species generally stay in their own ecological niches. Oh and FYI
    More complex doesn’t necessarily mean better.

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  3. Yeh right. You talk about faith. What a stretch. Of course secular humanism stakes it’s whole theology on faith in evolution

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  4. Hi, I think Jimmy has answered Jan’s question pretty well.

    As for #4 by John, I think he confuses secular humanism and evolution biology science. There are evolution biologists who are Christians or believers in other religions. However, they are NOT creationist fundamentalists who are in denial about the fossil record and other facts of evolution biology. They don’t believe that all species were created about 6,000 years ago in one week, and that they have been stable ever since that week. They don’t believe that humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs; or as Ventastega curonica.

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