The Greatest Step in Vertebrate History: A Paleobiological Review of the Fish‐Tetrapod Transition*

  title={The Greatest Step in Vertebrate History: A Paleobiological Review of the Fish‐Tetrapod Transition*},
  author={John A. Long and Malcolm S. Gordon},
  journal={Physiological and Biochemical Zoology},
  pages={700 - 719}
  • J. Long, M. Gordon
  • Published 1 September 2004
  • Geography, Environmental Science
  • Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
Recent discoveries of previously unknown fossil forms have dramatically transformed understanding of many aspects of the fish‐tetrapod transition. Newer paleobiological approaches have also contributed to changed views of which animals were involved and when, where, and how the transition occurred. This review summarizes major advances made and reevaluates alternative interpretations of important parts of the evidence. We begin with general issues and concepts, including limitations of the… 

Introduction to the Special Collection: Revisiting the Vertebrate Invasion of the Land*

The origin of tetrapods and their invasion of the land during the Devonian period was one of the most significant events in vertebrate evolutionary history. Understanding the environmental

Sustained high rates of morphological evolution during the rise of tetrapods.

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Late Devonian tetrapod remains from Red Hill, Pennsylvania, USA: how much diversity?

The difficulty in making taxonomic associations with isolated remains, even when found in close proximity to one another is demonstrated, and exploration of the characteristics of each element demonstrates the presence of at least three early tetrapod taxa at the Red Hill site.

Biostratigraphic and biogeographic context for tetrapod origins during the Devonian: Australian evidence

The geological context and evidence of age for three Australian occurrences attributed to Devonian tetrapods (trackways from Genoa River and the Grampians in Victoria, and an isolated jaw from

The biostratigraphical distribution of earliest tetrapods (Late Devonian): a revised version with comments on biodiversification

Abstract The 13 presently known genera of Late Devonian tetrapods are situated in the recently completed miospore zonation of Western Gondwana and Euramerica, in relation to the standard conodont

Woodland Hypothesis for Devonian Tetrapod Evolution

  • G. Retallack
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    The Journal of Geology
  • 2011
The rarity of Devonian tetrapods and the absence of tetrapods during the first 14 million years of the Mississippian (Romer’s Gap) have inspired hypotheses of fish-tetrapod evolutionary transition as

AR T ICLES Woodland Hypothesis for Devonian Tetrapod Evolution

The rarity of Devonian tetrapods and the absence of tetrapods during the first 14 million years of the Mississippian (Romer’s Gap) have inspired hypotheses of fish-tetrapod evolutionary transition as

A new phylogenetic hypothesis of turtles with implications for the timing and number of evolutionary transitions to marine lifestyles in the group

A new phylogenetic hypothesis informed by high resolution computed tomographic data of living and fossil taxa is presented, indicating three independent evolutionary transitions to marine life in non‐pleurodiran turtles (plus an additional two‐three in pleurodires).

Hierarchical Control of Terrestrial Vertebrate Taphonomy Over Space and Time: Discussion of Mechanisms and Implications for Vertebrate Paleobiology

This chapter presents a hierarchical model connecting small-scale taphonomic processes and large-scale fossil preservation patterns, which shows how changes in climate, tectonics, sea-level, etc. alter the distribution of both environments and biodiversity over time may alter the congruence between standing biodiversity and the fraction of that diversity faithfully represented in the fossil record.

Late Devonian tetrapod habitats indicated by palaeosols in Pennsylvania

Abstract: Late Devonian (Famennian) tetrapods from the Duncannon Member of the Catskill Formation, near Hyner (Pennsylvania, USA) have been found within palaeosols that offer a new line of evidence



A near‐tetrapod from the Baltic Middle Devonian

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The early formation of the skull in extant and Paleozoic amphibians

  • R. Schoch
  • Geography, Environmental Science
  • 2002
The formation of the skull of a Paleozoic amphibian (the branchiosaurid temnospondyl Apateon) is analyzed in comparison with that of an extant salamander (the hynobiid Ranodon), and the general results are that the sequence of ossification is similar in many aspects and most dermal bones share fundamental similarities in morphogenesis.

Ancestry of the Tetrapods

DURING the last few decades it has become increasingly clear that theTetrapods were derived from a group of fishes having their closest affinities with the Devonian Crossopterygii and Dipnoi. In

A primitive fish close to the common ancestor of tetrapods and lungfish

Styloichthys from the Lower Devonian of China bridges the morphological gap between stem-group sarcopterygians (Psarolepis and Achoania) and basal tetrapodomorphs/basal dipnomorphs and provides information that will help in the study of the relationship of early sarcoperygians, and which will also help to resolve the tetrapods–lungfish divergence into a documented sequence of character acquisition.

A uniquely specialized ear in a very early tetrapod

Ichthyostega's braincase and ear region defied interpretation, such that conventional anatomical terms seemed inapplicable, and can now be seen to form part of a highly specialized ear, probably a hearing device for use in water.

Tetrapod or near-tetrapod fossils from the Upper Devonian of Scotland

  • P. Ahlberg
  • Geography, Environmental Science
  • 1991
SINCE 1932, the earliest known undisputed tetrapods have been of uppermost Famennian (late Upper Devonian) age1–3. Although a probable tetrapod jaw has been described from the Lower Famennian4, and


Some aspects of the anatomy of the new Gogo Onychodus are compared with recently described material of Psarolepis, the oldest known possible sarcopter ygian fish, which have immediate bearing on competing schemes of basal osteichthyan phylogeny.

Palaeogeography: Devonian tetrapod from western Europe

A tetrapod jaw of about 365 million years old from the Famennian of Belgium is described, which is the first from western continental Europe and provides information about the conditions that prevailed just before the virtual disappearance of tetrapods from the fossil record for 20 Myr.

Biogeography of Devonian vertebrates

Five faunal provinces based on vertebrates are proposed for Early Devonian time, as follows: a cephalaspid province (Euramerica), an amphiaspid province (Siberia), a tannuaspid province (Tuva); a

The most primitive osteichthyan braincase?

The discovery of the oldest and most primitive actinopterygian-like osteichthyan braincase known is reported, from 400–million-year-old limestone in southeastern Australia, which provides an important and unique counterpart to the similarly aged and recently described Psarolepis from China and Vietnam.