Early tetrapod likely ate on shore | Science News

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Early tetrapod likely ate on shore

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9:58am, November 7, 2006

From Ottawa, at a meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

The skull structure of Acanthostega, a semiaquatic creature that lived about 365 million years ago, suggests that although the creature spent most of its time in the water, it fed on shore or in the shallows rather than in deep water.

Molly J. Markey, a paleontologist at Harvard University, examined the pattern of boundaries between skull bones in Acanthostega. The boundaries, called sutures, can have straight edges or jagged, interlocking edges.

The pattern of skull sutures in Acanthostega doesn't match the one found in Polypterus, a modern fish that, like most fish today, captures its prey by slurping it in (SN: 4/24/04, p. 264: Hooking the Gullible), or the pattern found in Eusthenopteron, a fish that lived about 385 million years ago and seems to have been a suction feeder. Both creatures had a straight-edged sutur

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