Acanthostega is an unusual animal. It had eight digits on each hand, and these were linked by webbing. Although it had limbs, Acanthostega is not believed to have been adapted for life on land - it lacked wrists, and its front limbs could not bend at the elbow - and thus it was adapted for paddling or perhaps grabbing hold of plants, rather than walking on land. Additionally, although Acanthostega had lungs (as well as gills), the animal's ribs would not able to support its body if out of water.
Acanthostega is important because it tells us a lot about how early tetrapods lived their lives. It was once thought that tetrapod limbs would only have evolved once animals had left the water - today, however, because of finds like Acanthostega, we believe that limbs initially evolved in animals that lived in water - perhaps creatures that lived in shallow swamps.
Acanthostega is an early tetrapod that lived during the Devonian
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