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David Marjanovic wrote:
In this respect *Tiktaalik* is no more spectacular than your average
Except... that we *know* what _Tiktaalik_ and its ilk evolved into.
Maybe frogfish will ultimately evolve into landmass-conquering air-breathing
quasi-tetrapods. Maybe one of these frogfish-descendents will be
intelligent, and develop the gift of language - in which case, they will
write scientific papers about the importance of the frogfish. :-)
Because our own ancestry is involved (hey, I'm not interested in lungfish
either), because more people are interested in the transition to land
(which was far away from *Tiktaalik* -- try *Pederpes* at best)
I agree that the emphasis on _Tiktaalik_ is partly parochial. After all,
_Tiktaalik_ is playing for the 'home team' - which includes tetrapods, which
includes humans, which includes (presumably) _Nature_ editors. But the
transition from water to land is a big deal. I know arthropods made it look
easy (often no change in body plan is required), but it's a tougher gig for
vertebrates if they want to live on land permanently. _Tiktaalik_ and
_Panderichthys_ and _Ichthyostega_ represent the beginnings of this process,
and put the ball in motion for guys like _Pederpes_.
BTW, I like lungfish. You take that back!