Discovered in Pennsylvania (USA), Hynerpeton altered people’s notions of how Tetrapods (early land animals) lived on the land. This proto-amphibian lived both in the water and on dry land. Hynerpeton spent most of his time in water, but did come on the land for periods at a time. In the Devonian Period (360 million years ago), Hynerpeton spent much of the time lurking in the watery reeds of inland wetlands waiting for his prey.
Hynerpeton had a fin-shaped tail but also robust legs with eight toes on each. Moreover, Hynerpeton had a primitive kidney, which is a sign of a permanent transition to life on land. In his case, He was metamorphosing from a Tetrapod to being an Amphibian.
Because of his eight toes, scientists believe that Hynerpeton was not a direct ancestor of modern land animals. The five-toed body type is what many land animals adopted as the most effective way to navigate on land. Although Hynerpeton was only a cousin, He still can show how the shift from living in the sea to on the land happened.
Since Hynerpeton is a transitional animal, He can teach us about the process of change. Hynerpeton understands that we may not see the end result, but that we should still “muddle through”. He knows that one of his descendants will reach the end of the journey that He started. To Hynerpeton, the process is as important as the beginning and the ending. To those who get discouraged, He urges them to continue on. When you get stuck, ask Hynerpeton to remind you why you went on this journey.