Scottish fossils tell story of first life on land

Fossils of what may be the earliest four-legged backboned animals to walk on land have been discovered in Scotland. The lizard-like creatures lived about 355 million years ago, when the ancestors of modern reptiles, birds and mammals emerged from swamps.

The discovery plugs a 15 million-year gap in the fossil record. There are five complete fossils and many more fragments of bones that have yet to be classified. Some resemble lizards or newts, while others are larger, with almost crocodile-like proportions.

“We’re lifting the lid on a key part of the evolutionary story of life on land,” said Prof Jennifer Clack of the University of Cambridge. “What happened then affects everything that happens subsequently – so it affects the fact that we are here and which other animals live with us today.” Source: Scottish fossils tell story of first life on land

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