About this Research Topic
The fish to tetrapod transition transformed the tetrapod body plan, eventually allowing tetrapods to move, eat, breathe, and reproduce on land. Reconstruction of soft tissues in early tetrapods and their relatives has the potential to solve controversies about the behavior and ecology of the earliest terrestrial vertebrates. This task has been attempted many times in many different ways, from detailed drawings made in the 1920s to modern biomechanical models.
We aim to present soft tissue descriptions and an overview of current soft tissue reconstruction methods and what they can tell us about functional anatomy in extinct animals. By doing so, we can help to define remaining challenges and project the next advances in this field.
We are interested in manuscripts that explore the use of various reconstruction methods and what they can tell us about the evolution of soft tissue anatomy and function surrounding the tetrapod water-land transition. These should include studies using a wide variety of methods, taxa, and anatomical structures. Especially welcome are studies on:
• Taxa closely related to stem tetrapods, particularly sarcopterygian fish, stem tetrapods, stem and early amniotes, and stem lissamphibians
• Methods grounded in experimental data from extant taxa, such as comparative anatomy, development, and phylogenetic relationships
• Paleontological methods such as exceptionally preserved fossils and high-resolution scans
• Virtual methods such as biomechanical models
• Soft tissue structures such as muscles, cartilage, vessels, and nerves
Keywords: Sarcopterygia, fossil, fin-limb, muscle, biomechanics, soft tissue, tetrapod
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