from water to land essay research paper

From Water To Land Essay, Research Paper

From Water to Land ( Revision )


The early tetrapods were the first craniates to really walk the solid Earth. They began their conquering of land in the Paleozoic epoch about 360 million old ages ago. The inquiry many palaeontologists have been inquiring for a long period of clip is whether the anatomy for motive power on land was developed in H2O for swimming intents, or if it was adapted after the animals became tellurian. Recent findings of dodos indicate that the transmutations of the aquatic animals happened underwater in order to assist them last in the changing universe. When looking for replies, they had to analyze forearm, hip, carpus, finger, and other castanetss, every bit good as the lungs or gills of the early tetrapod dodos. This information is critical in understanding the history and the procedure of growing and alteration. It aids in larning about human development.


Tetrapods are animals with four limbs, hips, shoulders, fingers, and toes, which developed sometime after lobe-finned fish, and before the first to the full tellurian craniates. The earliest tetrapod known is Acanthostega. It is besides considered the most crude tetrapod. It is really near to its fish lineage, but still anatomically far from its tellurian relations. These animals still lived in H2O, but they had a batch of the tellurian tetrapod anatomical features.


Before tetrapods existed, all craniates were confined to populating in aquatic home grounds. The lone animate beings that lived on land were arthropods. Through natural versions, the fish developed into amphibious vehicles. This prodigious phase of alteration made necessary the development of new ways of external respiration, motive power, and reproduction. Paleontologists needed to understand how this passage took topographic point. If the alterations in anatomy of the fish developed on land, so they served the same purposes they serve today, such as walking. But what advantages would those same organic structure parts give to the aquatic animals still populating in H2O? This is one of the inquiries the scientists are inquiring themselves. There have been a few hypotheses on this affair. The most recent one states that the transmutations of the aquatic animals happened underwater in order to assist them last. This clip period is really hard to analyze because there is a really little sum of dodos preserved. After all, this occurred about 350 million old ages ago ; and since the first tetrapods lived in H2O, their remains were damaged as clip went on.


. In 1940 Alfred Romer of Harvard offered a powerful scenario about the procedure of development of the fish into amphibious vehicles. He argued that the fresh water pools that the early tetrapods lived in were enduring seasonal drouths. He compared these early animals to lungfish. Because of the checkerss tetrapods evolved lungs and were able to take a breath air when necessary. This happened over a long period of clip. The lungs came to the deliverance when the O became scarce in H2O or when the pools dried out. Romer besides suggested that alternatively of delving tunnels with their dentitions, such as lungfish do in similar state of affairss, tetrapods used their fives to fight over the rough land to the nearest pool. By the procedure of natural choice, fish with weak fives died along the manner, but fish with strong 1s lived to reproduce and go through on their genotype to their progeny. Gradually fins turned into limbs, which are much better for overland travel. At the same clip, many other parts of the organic structure, such as eyes, ears, and tegument, changed to better header with this new environment ( Gardiner, 1998, p.659 ) .

Romer s theory was really controversial because Thursday

ere were a batch facts and findings that did non back up it. The anatomy of the tetrapods teaches us a batch about their life style. We notice that the radius and the elbow bone of the castanetss of the forearm are of different lengths. They are thinner at the carpus and thicker at the cubitus. This implies that they would hold been really hapless at back uping the animate being on land. The forearms were non adapted to give adequate scope of motion for walking action. This implies that the limbs foremost evolved in H2O and non on land.

The following inquiry is whether the hips developed to help the animal in going distances on land or for some other grounds. Harmonizing to Carl Zimmer, a walking carnal s hips have to be attached to its spinal column in order to back up it against gravitation. The hips of the early tetrapods did non hold the fond regard of strong ligaments. Their hips were slackly attached to their spinal columns. If the tetrapods tried to walk, they likely would hold flopped around defenseless on the land. Therefore the rear limbs were non designed for motive power on land. The animals carpuss were really weak, but surprisingly they had eight to the full developed tetrapod fingers. These fingers were multijoined and sophisticated, but they were attached to the unsubstantial carpus. They were virtually useless for assisting the animals walk on land. The early tetrapods had the organic structure of a land animate being but could non last on land in theory.

Another contention was in the fact that the early tetrapods had gills ; they breathed merely like fish. This is a major deduction that this animate being lived in H2O and likely ne’er left it. Harmonizing to Kathleen McAuliffe, tetrapods likely lived in the swamps for at least 20 million old ages, after developing the anatomy, before traveling to dry land.

To sum up all of the findings stated above we must mention to the most logical account of all. Jenny Clarck proposed that fish must hold evolved into tetrapods for life underwater. The lagunas were a new ecosystem in the Devonian period, but bacteriums used up excessively much of O. This was difficult for the tetrapods that lived in H2O. Therefore they evolved lungs to assist them last. The limbs and hips aided the animals to walk on the underside of the wetlands. Harmonizing to Zimmer the fish had to maintain its fives in gesture in order to stay inactive and unnoticed by the marauders and the quarry. The first tetrapods nevertheless, could catch stones while waiting for quarry to swim by. This shows that the tetrapods foremost evolved their limbs underwater, and subsequently they started to utilize them on land, but for wholly different grounds.


As we have seen, the characteristics of the early tetrapods indicate that they were first-class swimmers but unable to walk on land. The grounds shows that they were descended from a fish ascendant. This means that legs were non evolved for usage underwater, and that they adapted for the undertaking of motive power much later. Evolution ever adapts bing constructions to execute new intents, instead than making new constructions. The rule of development is sometimes called preadaptation. There is no foresight involved ; merely the lucky happenstance that a characteristic evolved to make one thing may turn out subsequently to make another thing even better.


Gardiner, David M. , Torok, Maureen A. , Mullen, Lina M. , Bryant, Susan V. ( September

1998 ) . Development of vertebrate limbs: robust morphology and flexible

development. American Zoologist, v38, n4 659

McAuliffe, Kathleen. ( August, 1993 ) . Tracing the footfalls of development. ( fossil

remains of an early tetrapod discovered in a museum ) Omni v15, n10, 16

Zimmer, Carl. ( June, 1995 ) . Coming onto the land. Discover v16, n6, 118

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