darwin’s works go on-line, missing land sea fossil link found

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Charles Darwin’s works go online

Darwin Online features many newly transcribed or never-before-published manuscripts written by the great man.

These include a remarkable field notebook from his famous Beagle voyage to the Galapagos Islands, where detailed observations of the wildlife would later forge his scientific arguments.

Some good related links on the right side of this article at the link. Related scientists find a missing link between fish and land animals, Ancient Fish Fossil May Rewrite Story of Animal Evolution

A fish that swam on an ancient barrier reef in Australia 380 million years ago had fins and nostrils remarkably similar to the limbs and ears of the first four-limbed creatures to walk on land, according to a new study.

Four-limbed land animals, also known as tetrapods, such as modern amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, evolved from lobed-finned fish.

That transition from water to land has long fascinated scientists, but the fossil record of how it occurred is still incomplete.

The new finding suggests that certain aspects of tetrapod ears and limbs can be traced much further back in “fishy looking” fish than had been previously known, says John Long, head of sciences at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

“They were just cunningly disguised in the fossil record by their more fishlike overall features,” he said in an email interview.

“They tell us that evolution progresses steadily but often hides the evidence until a really well preserved fossil like this turns up.”

Long and colleagues report their findings in tomorrow’s issue of the science journal Nature.

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