This article appeared in the on-line version of New Scientist today. I find the headline disturbingly misleading. Even cursory reading of the article shows that Varga and Weins' findings point to the possibility that ray-finned fish may all share a common ancestor which evolved in fresh water.
If true, this is interesting but nothing really surprising. After all, why should a founder species for a major group NOT evolve in fresh water rather than the sea, and why should it not then expand into a salt-water environment and radiate there into the many species we have today?
But, the idea that a founder species evolved in fresh-water (note, NOT on land as the headline says, but in water) and then radiated, is a far cry from the idea conveyed in the headline that 'most' fish evolved that way. And nowhere is it suggested that ANY fish evolved on land as most people would understand the term 'land'.
I'm surprised and disappointed to see this over-simplification and misleading approach to science in a respected science magazine.
Most fish in the sea evolved on land - life - 08 February 2012 - New Scientist:
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