Paleontologists Ted Daeschler of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago hit the road yesterday 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.
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 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.