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Bloomberg - Scottish fossil trove shows when sea creatures started walking

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Published: 5Mar2012

Hundreds of fossils discovered in Scotland may show which creatures crawled out of the water to populate the land after a mass extinction 359 million years ago, according to research that also resets the timeline for animals with fingers and toes.

The fossils are from a mysterious 30-million-year blank in the record known as Romer’s Gap, named for Alfred Romer, the paleontologist who first recognized it, according to a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This is a great opportunity to see a block of time that was sort of blacked out for us because of volcanic activity,” said Bob Carroll, a paleontologist at Redpath Museum at McGill University in Montreal, in a telephone interview. “On the sea to the land, we have, in a way, a better window.”