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When the Invasion of Land FailedThe Legacy of the Devonian Extinctions$
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George McGhee,

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231160575

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231160575.001.0001

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The First Animal Invasion

The First Animal Invasion

Chapter:
(p.53) Chapter 3 The First Animal Invasion
Source:
When the Invasion of Land Failed
Author(s):

George R. McGhee

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231160575.003.0003

This chapter identifies the prehistoric animals that lived on land. The first major animal group to make a concerted effort to inhabit the land was the Panarthropoda, ancestors of modern terrestrial velvet worms, millipedes, centipedes, spiders, and insects. These animals had legs for swimming while they were still living in the water; hence, their legs made it relatively easy to walk on dry land. The second major animal group to invade the land was the Vertebrata, ancestors of modern terrestrial amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Unlike the arthropods that have legged marine ancestors, the marine ancestors of the earliest vertebrate invaders, which were ray-finned fishes and lobe-finned fishes, had no legs. These fishes had produced species with limbs called tetrapod that can venture out of the water and crawl around on dry land.

Keywords:   prehistoric animals, Panarthropoda, Vertebrata, ray-finned fishes, lobe-finned fishes, tetrapod

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