Evolution Trivia Quiz

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8. Between one thing and another

Some famous fossils are known as “transitional forms”, since they exhibit some features resembling those of a later evolutionary group while still retaining features like those of an ancestral group. One fossil of this kind, called Tiktaalik, was discovered in northern Canada in 2004. What transition does Tiktaalik represent?

A) From dinosaur to bird
B) From early hoofed mammals to whales
C) From free-swimming fish to bottom-dwelling flatfish
D) From lobe-finned fishes to four-limbed animals

Your answer — C) From free-swimming fish to bottom-dwelling flatfish — was incorrect.

Tiktaalik represents one phase in the emergence of vertebrate life from the sea onto land some 375 million years ago in the Late Devonian period. Although it has the scales and gills of its fish forebears, its limbs incorporate the stronger bones needed for locomotion on land, and included the beginnings of a wrist joint. Like some of the large amphibians that would come after, it had a flat head similar to that of a crocodile. Unlike any previous fish, Tiktaalik had a neck, which would have given it more mobility when hunting.

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