Scientists Find Fossil of Most Primitive 4-Legged Creature

Fish-eater likely a product of extinct branch of 4-legged family
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Jun 26, 2008 2:08 AM CDT
This artist rendering provided by Philip Renne shows a Ventastega. Scientists have found the fossil skull of the most primitive four-legged critter in Earth's history.    (AP Photo/Philip Renne)

(Newser) – Scientists have found a partial skeleton of the world's most primitive four-legged creature— a water-dwelling tetrapod—in Latvia, AP reports. The four-foot-long fish eater resembles a small alligator and likely belongs to an extinct offshoot of the four-legged family tree. The fossil is 365 million years old—predating dinosaurs by 100 million years.

"I imagine this is an animal that could haul itself over sand banks without any difficulty. Maybe it's poking around in semi-tidal creeks picking up fish that got stranded," speculated one scientist.