First land animals shuffled like seals
London: The world`s first 3D reconstruction of a four-legged animal backbone has shown that the early animals on land moved around like seals.
One of the studied animals was a fierce-looking, toothy beast known as Ichthyostega, which lived 374 - 359 million years ago and was a transitional species between fish and terrestrial animals.
Ichthyostega is thought to have navigated through shallow water in swamps, probably lured by food.
High-energy X-rays and a new data extraction protocol allowed the researchers to reconstruct the backbones of the fossils in exceptional detail and shed new light on how the first vertebrates moved from water onto land.
The study published in the journal Nature was led by Stephanie E Pierce from The Royal Veterinary College in London and Jennifer A Clack from the University of Cambridge.
Researchers found that around 400 million years ago, early tetrapods were the first vertebrates to make short excursions into shallower waters where they used their four limbs to move around.
Unlike the backbone of living tetrapods like humans, in which each vertebra is composed of only one bone, early tetrapods had vertebrae made up of multiple parts.
"For more than 100 years, early tetrapods were thought to have vertebrae composed of three sets of bones - one bone in front, one on top, and a pair behind. But, by peering inside the fossils using synchrotron X-rays we have discovered that this traditional view literally got it back-to-front," said Pierce in a statement.
For the analysis, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France, where the three fossil fragments were scanned with X-rays, applied a data extraction method to reveal tiny details of fossil bones buried deep inside the rock matrix.
Scientists discovered that what was thought to be the first bone - known as the intercentrum - is actually the last in the series.
And, although this might seem like a trivial oversight, this re-arrangement in vertebral structure has over-arching ramifications for the functional evolution of the tetrapod backbone.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- UP CM Yogi Adityanath takes 50 decisions without single Cabinet meet
- Triple Talaq: Why AIMPLB are opposing the petitions filed in Supreme Court?
- Legal, illegal slaughterhouses in UP: What you need to know
- DNA: Should strict action be taken against stone pelters of J&K?
- Triple talaq, polygamy integral part of Islam: AIMPLB tells SC
- Kapil Sharma–Sunil Grover fallout: Kiku Sharda finally breaks silence
- Chinese national insults Indian flag, throws it in dustbin outside Noida Oppo office; massive protest takes place
- No ban on cow slaughter in three Northeast states if party comes to power next year: BJP
- Left to die on road, pregnant Lucknow woman writes to PM Narendra Modi to end 'triple talaq', says 'I voted for BJP'
- Gautam Gambhir gives Aussies perfect send-off, says true champions let their game do all the talking!