“Our work demonstrates that the head of these animals was becoming more solidly constructed and, at the same time, more mobile with respect to the body across this transition,” Dr. Daeschler said.
Dr. Shubin said Tiktaalik was “still on the fish end of things, but it neatly fills a morphological gap and helps to resolve the relative timing of this complex transition.”
For example, fish have no neck but “we see a mobile neck developing for the first time in Tiktaalik,” Dr. Shubin said.
“When feeding, fish orient themselves by swimming, which is fine in deep water, but not for an animal whose body is relatively fixed, as on the bottom of shallow water or on land,” he added. “Then a flexible neck is important.”
More pieces of the puzzle. Yay.