The Origin of the Tetrapod Limb within the Rhipidistian Fishes

  • Hans-Peter Schultze
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSB, volume 14)


In the Devonian, tetrapods (Ichthyostegalia) coexisted with Dipnoi, Actinistia, and Rhipidistia, the group of fishes which all recent authorities agree gave rise to the tetrapods. Any comparison between Recent and Devonian forms is fraught with uncertainties because of the enormous time lapse between them (300 Million years). In his consideration of tetrapods and fishes Szarski (this volume) has reaffirmed that Anura and Urodela are more closely related to each other than to any other tetrapod or fish. He also states that the crossopterygians (strictly speaking, the actinistian Latimeria) are the sistergroup of the Recent tetrapods. Nevertheless many authors have considered the dipnoans to be close relatives of certain amphibians. Two of Szarski’s important preadaptations of fishes for the transition to terrestrial life — the internal nares (choanae)/nasolacrimal duct and the endoskeletal structure of the paired fins (Fig. 1) — merit further consideration.


Nasolacrimal Duct Transformation Series Terrestrial Life Posterior Nostril Anterior Nostril 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Peter Schultze
    • 1
  1. 1.Geologisch-Palaontologisches InstitutUniversität GöttingenGöttingenW-Germany

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