Research Topic

Tetrapod Water-Land Transition: Reconstructing Soft Tissue Anatomy and Function

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


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

14 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

14 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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