Science Art: Hyneria, by ABelov2014

Scientific illustration of prehistoric fish from the Devonian period.

Scientific illustration of prehistoric fish from the Devonian period. Click to embiggen
A scene from the Devonian period, before dinosaurs ever emerged to rumble the earth. This lobe-finned fish measured between 8 and 15 feet long, and swam in freshwater rivers and marshes that spread over what is now Hyner, Pennsylvania. The very first four-legged creatures (like that tetrapod swimming in the background) came onto land around the same time, exploring this new thing called “forests.”

Meanwhile, Hyneria waited in the wetter parts. They could lunge up onto land for short periods, using its air bladder as something like a lung. Some believe they’d lurch up onto a mudbank and wait for for smaller fish to swim by underneath, then splash down to snap them up, something like an alligator in reverse.

I found the image on Wikimedia Commons, though it’s by a paleontological artist named ABelov2014 on deviantart.