Researchers have revealed new insights into how the human hand evolved from fish fins based on their analysis of an ancient fossil found in Miguasha, Canada.
Palaeontologists said the fish specimen has yielded the missing evolutionary link in the transition from fish to four legged animals.
They said this happened during the Late Devonian period, millions of years ago, as fish began to foray in habitats such as shallow water and land.
The study, published in the journal Nature, noted that the 1.57 m long fossil shows the complete arm — pectoral fin — skeleton for the first time in any elpistostegalian fish.
This is the first time researchers have unequivocally discovered fingers locked in a fin with fin-rays in any known fish.
The finding pushes back the origin of fingers in vertebrates to the fish level. The evolution of fishes into four-legged vertebrates was one of the most significant events in the history of life.
Source : The Hindu