Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

West Australian Fossil Find Rewrites Land Mammal Evolution

Date:
October 19, 2006
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
A fossil fish discovered in the West Australian Kimberley has been identified as the missing clue in vertebrate evolution, rewriting a century-old theory on how the first land animals evolved.

A fossil fish discovered in the West Australian Kimberley has been identified as the missing clue in vertebrate evolution, rewriting a century-old theory on how the first land animals evolved.

Monash University PhD students Mr Erich Fitzgerald and Mr Tim Holland were part of the research team, led by Museum Victoria's Head of Science Dr John Long, that made the spectacular discovery by studying a 380 million-year-old fossil fish called Gogonasus, or Gogo fish, named after Gogo Station in Western Australia where it was found.

The fossil skeleton shows the fish's skull had large holes for breathing through the top of the head but importantly also had muscular front fins with a well-formed humerus, ulna and radius - the same bones are found in the human arm.

"This new fossil proves that features of land-living tetrapods (four-legged vertebrates) evolved much earlier in their evolutionary history than previously thought," Mr Fitzgerald, a researcher in the School of Geosciences, said. "This means that humans can trace their evolutionary roots, and adaptations for life on land, further back in time, to more than 380 million years ago.

"This little fossil fish, Gogonasus, is therefore the ultimate 'Mother' of all tetrapods."

The research findings are published in the journal Nature.

"Gogonasus is the new pivotal fossil for understanding the earliest phase in the transition from sea-going fish to land-dwelling tetrapods -- from dinosaurs, to kangaroos, and ultimately, us humans," Mr Fitzgerald said.

"The fossils of Gogonasus raise the possibility that tetrapods originated not in the northern hemisphere, as is widely thought, but in Gondwana, the ancient southern super-continent, and more specifically Australia. But further discoveries of fossils in Australia are needed to confirm this."

A Gogonasus display will be launched by Dr John Long at Melbourne Museum on 19 October at 10am, and will run until 18 November.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monash University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Monash University. "West Australian Fossil Find Rewrites Land Mammal Evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061019093718.htm>.
Monash University. (2006, October 19). West Australian Fossil Find Rewrites Land Mammal Evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061019093718.htm
Monash University. "West Australian Fossil Find Rewrites Land Mammal Evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061019093718.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

AP (Sep. 12, 2014) — As the Star-Spangled Banner celebrates its bicentennial, Smithsonian curators are still uncovering fragments of the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem. (Sept. 12) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Spinosaurus, the First-Known Water Dinosaur

Meet Spinosaurus, the First-Known Water Dinosaur

AFP (Sep. 11, 2014) — Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was adapted for both land and water, and an exhibit featuring a life-sized model, based on new fossils unearthed in eastern Morocco, opens at the National Geographic Museum in Washington on Friday. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NatGeo Unveils Life-Size 'Spinosaurus'

NatGeo Unveils Life-Size 'Spinosaurus'

AP (Sep. 11, 2014) — Scientists announced new findings about the first ever non-bird dinosaur that could have lived much of its time in the water. National Geographic created a life-size 50-foot model of the prehistoric creature. (Sept. 11) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins