Sunday, July 29, 2012

TIKTAALIK (Fish with legs): Answering Opportunity’s Knock

In 2006, an amazing discovery was made in Nunavut, Northern Canada – an ancient fossil of a fish with limbs.  Called “the fish that made humans possible”, Tiktaalik demonstrated how Fish transformed Themselves to live on the land.  The Nunavut Elders Council named this remarkable animal, “Tiktaalik” which their language means “large shallow-water fish”. 
            The world of Tiktaalik was one of rapid change.  During the Devonian Period of 375 million years ago, plants began to colonize the land.  As the plants expanded their territory, they stabilized the soil, and thereby created new habitats such as marshes and swamps.  Fish now had new places to raise their young and to obtain food.  In addition, the shallow waters also enticed Them to venture onto the shore in search for more food.
            Called a “fishapod”, Tiktaalik was a transitional animal between Fish and Tetrapods (early land animals).  When She went on the land, She used her limbs to prop Herself up and her “proto-lungs” to breathe the air.  Other non-Fish characteristics that Tiktaalik possessed were a defined skull and a neck.  Scientists believe that Tiktaalik hunted like a crocodile, lurking in the reeds, and then ambushing her prey.
            Once the plants created new environments on the land, Tiktaalik bravely ventured out to explore these new places.  Opportunity knocked and She answered.  Tiktaalik dared to go out into the unknown, and was changed for the better.  She had taken the beginning steps to becoming a land-dwelling animal.
            When you are hesitant about an opportunity, follow Tiktaalik’s example, and “go for it”.  Answer that knock at your door, and take the chance.  Since She went on land for a better life, let Tiktaalik be your guide for going into the unknown.  But remember that like Tiktaalik, you will be changed in ways that you may not have foreseen.

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