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 ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.