Some early land-dwelling amphibians evolved back into aquatic species

0
23

ancient amphibian

Illustration of the temnospondyl Prionosuchus plimmeri

JAMES KUETHER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

One of the greatest transitions in evolutionary history was the emergence of tetrapods, or four-legged vertebrates, onto land. By about 340 million years ago, fins had become fingers and limbs, shoulder and hip joints had changed to bear weight on land, and an entire array of amphibious creatures had begun to live along the water’s edge. But an analysis of some early tetrapods now suggests that not long after they made a home on land, some species became adapted to life in the water all over again.

Aja Mia Carter at the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues focused on a group of early amphibians called temnospondyls, roughly salamander-like tetrapods that spun off a great diversity of species…

Source link