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World's Oldest Broken Bone Pushes Back Our Transition to Land by Two Million Years

Anomalism

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Pretty cool.

World's Oldest Broken Bone Pushes Back Our Transition to Land by Two Million Years | IFLScience

Researchers analyzing the world’s oldest broken (and healed) bone have discovered that a 333-million-year-old amphibian-looking critter spent most of its life on land, not water. The findings on this remarkable paleopathology, published in PLoS ONE this month, push back the origin of our early terrestrial ancestors by at least two million years. Tetrapods include all of the land-living vertebrates we have today, including some who returned to life at sea (like whales) and some who lost their legs (like snakes). But exactly when and how terrestrial tetrapods originated has been mystery. Researchers think the advent of vertebrate terrestrialization took place during the Early Carboniferous, but fossils from the first 30 million years of this period are very rare.

To better understand this pivotal behavioral transition, Queensland Museum’s Peter Bishop and colleagues studied the oldest known broken tetrapod bone: the forearm of Ossinodus pueri from the mid-Viséan of Queensland, Australia. This two-meter-long primitive tetrapod lived around 333 million years ago, and it fractured its radius under a high-force, impact-type scenario. The presence of a thickened, hardened callus (see image above) indicates that healing had begun; by the time this animal died, its radius was already partially healed. When the team reconstruct the forces required to cause the fracture, New Scientist explains, they found that the magnitude of the force was so large (relative to the animal’s size) that the fall must have happened on land. Assuming that Ossinodus weighed 25 kilograms (55 pounds), it would only need to fall 85 centimeters (33 inches) to sustain an impact force sufficient to fracture its radius.
 

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Re: World's Oldest Broken Bone Pushes Back Our Transition to Land by Two Million Year

I think that their conclusions, although not entirely off the mark are somewhat speculation, rather than based on anything remotely conclusive. Bones of a 55 pound animal could have broken in water very easily, and by a number of different ways to suggest otherwise is wishful thinking, IMO.

Tim-
 
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