Denison Guest Paleontologist Discusses 'Fish with Limbs'
Posted: April 2, 2007
The "when, why, and how" of fish that evolved limbs has captured the attention of scientists for decades. Philadelphia paleontologist Ted Daeschler will visit Denison to discuss the fossil links he has discovered in Pennsylvania. His lecture, "A Giant Step in Evolution: Discovering the Link Between Fish and Limbed Animals," which focuses on these groundbreaking fossil links, will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday (April 12) in Slayter Auditorium (200 North Road). The event is free and open to the public.
After finding several Devonian-era fossils in Pennsylvania, Daeschler, the assistant curator and chair of vertebrate zoology at The Academy of Natural Sciences, co-led an expedition with his mentor, Neil Shubin, associate professor of biology at the University of Pennsylvania, to Nunavut, the northernmost part of Canada, to look for fossils in the vast expanses of bed rock which lie barren and exposed. Compared to dinosaurs, little is known of early tetrapods. The progression from water to dry land creatures is largely a mystery. Some fish fossils have been found with early limbs or finger-like structures and some tetrapod fossils with fish-like heads and spines.
Daeschler once said to reporters at thePhiladelphia City Paperthat the transitional period of study of fish to amphibian life is "one of the sexiest research questions in paleontology today." The possibility for new discoveries makes Daeschler's work cutting edge.
He has been involved with fieldwork on Late Devonian (375-363 million years ago) vertebrates since 1993, when under Shubin's direction, he discovered a fossil of an early tetrapod that had enough muscle in the shoulder girdle to walk on land. At 365 million years old, it was the third-oldest specimen of its kind in the world. Daeschler's research may shed light on the 400-million-year-old questions of how and why aquatic creatures first left the water to live on land. The Academic Lecture Fund and the departments of biology and geosciences sponsor this lecture.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville -- The Academic Lecture Fund and departments of biology and geosciences present paleontologist Ted Daeschler for a lecture titled "A Giant Step in Evolution: Discovering the Link Between Fish and Limbed Animals"; 7:30 p.m., Thursday (April 12), Slayter Auditorium (200 North Road). Free and open to the public. Contact 740-587-6261 to confirm information.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
For press inquiries:
- Barbara Stambaugh
- Position Title
- Director, Media Relations
- Primary Email
- Business Phone
- (740) 587-8575