ENVIRONMENT
09/12/2011 07:19 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

‘In-Between' Fish Fossil Discovered, May Show How Fish Came To Walk On Land

If this doesn't convince you that evolution is real, we're not sure what will.

Scientists at The Academy Of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia claim that a new fossil may be an important link between sea-dwelling fish and terrestrial animals. According to a press release, Laccognathus embryi, as the newly discovered species has been named, was found in the same region as Tiktaalik roseae, the fish that is considered the original stepping stone to backboned, terrestrial animals.

It was also discovered by the same researchers in the same region, the remote Nunavut Territory of Arctic, Canada, as the first "missing link."

Laccognathus embryi had fins that were more limb-like, as well as strong jaws and sharp teeth. Researchers believe they would have dwelled in shallow waters, and grown to about five or six feet long. Its closest living relative is the lungfish.

Interestingly, this 375-million-year-old fossil from the Devonian Period also has geographic implications. According to the press release, because fish of the Laccognathus genus were previously only found in Europe, this is said to confirm the onetime connection between the two continents.

This find is just one of many contributing to tectonic plate theory, however. Similar finds in different areas of the world suggest that different areas were once linked. Early this year, similar samples of isotopes taken in West Texas and Antarctica suggested that North America and Antarctica were also once connected, forming the supercontinent of Rodinia.

A more detailed view of the fossil (Photo by Ted Daeschler/ANSP, Illustration by K. Monoyios):