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. 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. The fossil proves that features of land-living tetrapods (four-legged vertebrates) evolved much earlier in their evolutionary history than previously thought. Humans can trace their evolutionary roots, and adaptations for life on land, further back in time – to more than 380 million years ago.
West Australian Fossil Find Rewrites Land Mammal Evolution