The highly-publicized tetrapod missing link or “fish-a-pod” that made headlines in 2006 has been dethroned by new findings in Poland.

Trackways said to be 18 million years older than Tiktaalik, showing digits and alternating steps, were announced today in Nature.1 The authors said, “They force a radical reassessment of the timing, ecology and environmental setting of the fish-tetrapod transition, as well as the completeness of the body fossil record.”

Here is a sample of the revolutionary talk being reported:

  • These results force us to reconsider our whole picture of the transition from fish to land animals said co-discoverer Per Ahlberg in ScienceDaily.2
  • The finding could lead to significant shifts in our knowledge of the timing and ecological setting of early tetrapod evolution. — Ted Daeschler in National Geographic News.3
  • The team says the find means that land vertebrates appeared millions of years earlier than previously supposed…. the Zachelmie Quarry tetrapods break the neat and simple timeline. (BBC News4).
  • The fish-tetrapod transition was thus seemingly quite well documented…. Now, however, Niedzwiedzki et al lob a grenade into that picture. — Janvier and Clement, commenting on the find in Nature.5
  • It blows the whole story out of the water, so to speak.— Jenny Clack (Harvard), in PhysOrg.6
  • We didn’t know they existed at this point, and we would not have expected to have found them in this environment. — Per Ahlberg, co-discoverer, in Live Science.7….

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