A new study suggests it was the eyes -- not the limbs -- that first inspired our aquatic forebears to make the leap from water to land, Practical Fishkeeping reports.
The researchers believe that crocodile-like animals first saw easy meals on land and then evolved limbs that enabled them to get there.
Scientists from Northwestern University and Claremont McKenna, Scripps and Pitzer colleges studied the fossil record and discovered that eyes nearly tripled in size before — not after — the water-to-land transition, while the eyes shifted from the side of the head to the top.
The expanded visual range -- since you can see much farther through air than through water -- may have led to larger brains in early terrestrial vertebrates, and along with it, the ability to plan and not merely react.
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