I study the evolution of terrestrial communities. My research begins in the Devonian, about 385 million years ago, when the first tetrapods (animals with four feet) evolved from fish. Fossils like Tiktaalik from Northern Canada blur the line between fish and amphibian because Tiktaalik has a mosaic of characteristics. There are many questions surrounding the evolution of tetrapods:
Why did vertebrates move on to land?
When did they begin to breath air?
Did their new limb structure develop in the water?
Our current understanding of the fossil record indicates that weight-bearing limbs developed while these animals were still living an aquatic lifestyle. I find this idea of fish with feet very funny and it makes me think of many new and important questions such as:
Did they wear wellies so their feet didn’t get wet?