Tetrapods in Nature!

November 25, 2020

Big news! Blake's application of functional adaptive landscapes to early tetrapod humeri was published today in NATURE! The research shows that the early tetrapod 'L-shaped' humerus provided some functional benefit for moving on land - but that these early land explorers were probably not very good at it. Evolution of additional traits in crown tetrapods resulted in dramtic functional improvements for effective limb-based locomotion and diversification into terrestrial habitats.

Dickson, B.V., Clack, J.A., Smithson, T.R. Pierce, S.E. Functional adaptive landscapes predict terrestrial capacity at the origin of limbsNature (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2974-5

See the Harvard Gazette article: From fins to limbs and water to land
And, the OEB press release: Water-to-land transition in early tetrapods

devonian tetrapods
Aerial scene depicts two Late Devonian early tetrapods - Ichthyostega and Acanthostega - coming out of the water to move on land. Footprints trail behind the animals to show a sense of movement. Original artwork created by scientific illustrator Davide Bonadonna.