Tiktaalik may not have left the water by choice, to avoid predators, or to get more oxygen. Instead, it might have found itself left behind on a muddy floodplain each time waters receded with the tide. Tiktaalik ‘s “limbs” were probably first developed to survive in an environment that required bracing and stabilizing against currents, rather than maneuvering around rocks, plant limbs, or the water’s edges.

Daniel Pankratz
Huntington Beach, Calif.

“It’s more likely that such creatures, not wanting to become a meal themselves, were escaping aquatic predators. . . .” Even paleontologists slip into teleological language sometimes, don’t they? Or has the theory of natural selection been revised to permit fish the thought processes of reason and foresight?

David S. Coffman
Nipimo, Calif.