Friday, February 13, 2009

Short List of Transitional Fossils

Yahoo News has a story from LiveScience editor Robin Lloyd on the record of transitional fossils in the geological column. Most of it is taken from Donald Prothero's excellent book Evolution: What The Fossils Say and Why it Matters. For example:

  • Tiktaalik, aka the fishibian or the fishapod, is a large scaled fish that shows a perfect transition between fins and feet, aquatic and land animals. It had fish-like scales, as well as fish-like fin rays and jaw and mouth elements, but it had a shortened skull roof and mobile neck to catch prey, an ear that could hear in both land and water, and a wrist joint that is like those seen in land animals.
  • Last year, scientists announced the discovery of Gerobatrachus hottorni, aka the frogamander. Technically, it's a toothed amphibian, but it shows the common origins of frogs and salamanders, scientists say, with a wide skull and large ear drum (like frogs) and two fused ankle bones as seen in salamanders.
Read the whole thing. Better yet, pick up Prothero's book.


  1. I will second the recommendation to pick up a copy of "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters." A great book for learning the basics on the transitional fossils we currently have.

  2. I cannot say enough good things about the way this book tackles the myth of "no transitional fossils" that is continually perpetuated in creationist and ID circles.