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Fossil helps document shift from sea to land

Fossils yield insight into early tetrapod evolution

12:07pm, June 25, 2008

New fossils of an ancient, four-limbed creature help fill in the blanks of the evolutionary transition between fish and the first land-adapted vertebrates.

Fossils of creatures that span the water-to-land transition of vertebrates are few and far between. One of those pioneers, Ventastega curonica, was first described in 1994 but previously has been known only from fragmentary remains unearthed from 365-million-year-old rocks at a site in western Latvia. Fossils found at the site during subsequent excavations now allow scientists to more fully reconstruct the creature, says Per Ahlberg, a paleontologist at Uppsala University in Sweden.

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