Saturday, April 03, 2004

How Many Missing Links Can You Put in an Empty Cage?

Fossil Illuminates Evolution of Limbs from Fins
ScientificAmerican.com --Sarah Graham
 April 02, 2004

Image: COURTESY OF KALLIOPI MONOYIOSThe discovery of a 365-million-year-old forelimb is helping scientists better understand how ancient creatures made the transition from water to land. A report published today in the journal Science  [free registration required for abstract; subscription needed for full access] describes the fossil, which represents an intermediate stage in the evolution of fish fins into vertebrate limbs.
The findings indicate that the ability to prop up the body is more ancient than previously believed. Says Coates, "This means that many of the features that we thought evolved to enable life on land originally evolved in fish living in aquatic ecosystems."
In an accompanying commentary Jennifer A. Clack of the University of Cambridge notes that Devonian tetrapods "probably did not walk efficiently, but their modes of locomotion certainly varied, as they adapted skeletons and sensory organs for the challenges posed by emergence from the water."

Paul Myers has a bit more detial  on this at his site, Pharygula.  I posted this because I want to remind people of how silly it is for creationists to claim that "No missing link has ever been found."  That is like the chilhood riddle: "How many tigers can you put in an empy cage?  Just one.  Because after that, the cage is not empty anymore." 

After something has been found, it is not missing anymore.