Jenny Clack, Paleontologist: The First Vertebrate Walks on Land
As a paleontologist, Jenny Clack wants to find the transitional form between fish and land vertebrates or tetrapods. She spent years teasing a fossil from its rock and studying the fish-like animal that shows evolution in mid-process during the Devonian. It was an animal with both gills and lungs. Out in the field, Dr. Clack tries to understand the lives of transitional forms by studying fossilized footsteps, “an action replay” from deep time.
Next Generation Science Standards
The complementary nature of structure and function is shown in the presence of both gills and lungs in tetrapods, which could breathe both in water and in air.
The fossil that Jenny Clack studies an extinct vertebrate by looking at its fossil.
A beautifully preserved tetrapod fossil provides evidence of adaptations that allowed vertebrates to invade land.
Paleontologists , like Jenny Clack, have keen observational skills in the lab and in the field, and also have analytical skills and lots of patience.
Jenny Clack studies a fossil tetrapod and its fossilized footprints and makes the connection between the two and explains how it walked on land.
7th Grade California Life Science Standards
The invasion of land by the first vertebrates, the tetrapods, was an extremely significant development in the evolution of animal life.
Paleontologist have keen observational skills in the lab and in the field, and also have analytical skills and lots of patience.