Scientists have discovered fossils from two new species of the world’s earliest land-walking vertebrates in the Eastern Cape — suggesting these ancient four-legged creatures did not just inhabit the warm waters of the tropics but lived in the Antarctic Circle too. The research will force scientists to rethink tetrapod evolution, Robert Gess, a researcher at the Albany Museum in Grahamstown and lead author of a paper describing the find published in the peer review journal Science, said on Thursday. Tetrapods were land pioneers that evolved from lobe-finned fishes during the Devonian period, which began 400-million years ago. The new fossils are about 360-million years old and are the first tetrapods found in SA. The creatures lived in what was then the southernmost part of the super-continent Gondwanaland, which extended 70% south to within the Antarctic Circle and later broke up into several continents, including Africa. Until now tetrapod fossils have been found only in locations ...

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