Drexel Snapshot: Walking Fossil Fish Tiktaalik Hits the Road

Nunavut fossils packed up in the Subaru and heading back to Canada today. #tiktaalik #acadnatsci #drexelcoas

A photo posted by Ted Daeschler (@teddaeschler) on Jun 22, 2015 at 9:17am PDT

Paleontologists Ted Daeschler, of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and Neil Shubin, of the University of Chicago, hit the road today on a journey to Canada with some very precious cargo. Daeschler’s Subaru Forrester is packed with Tiktaalik roseae and other Devonian-age fossils now returning to their home country.

Just this morning, it was wheels-up for Tiktaalik, as Shubin carried the type specimen—the first-described individual of the species—on a flight from Chicago to Philadelphia on the first leg of the journey.

Tiktaalik is the 375-million-year-old fish made famous in 2006 as one of the best-known examples of the evolutionary transition from limbed animals that swam to those that walk on land.

Daeschler and Shubin were among the co-leaders of the team that discovered Tiktaalik in the Nunavut province in the Canadian Arctic—an area they’ve prospected for fossils over nine trips since 1999.

This time, they aren’t traveling quite so far north. Their destination is Ottawa, where the fossils will join their permanent repository at the Canadian Museum of Nature. There, researchers from around the world—Daeschler and Shubin included—can visit to study the fossils in person.

If you can’t get enough of the fish that swam, walked, flew, and took a roadtrip, then keep up with possible updates on the journey by following Daeschler on Instagram and Shubin on Twitter.