Best Paleo Music Video Ever: Tap Your Toes to Tiktaalik

Tiktaalik roseae
Wikimedia Commons

Oh, this will make you smile. Do you remember a fossil called Tiktaalik roseae that was discovered a few years ago? It's an important transition between aquatic and terrestrial animals; it probably lived in shallow water but had shoulders and wrists that allowed it to walk on land. Now a band called The Indoorfins (Ed. note -- groan) has written a very catchy song about it, called "Tiktaalik (Your Inner Fish)," and filmed a clever video of Tiktaalik wandering around Philadelphia. It's close, but I think this video is even better than the one for Captain Beefheart's "Smithsonian Institute Blues." (Tiktaalik lived about 300 million years before dinosaurs, but let's overlook that for a moment for art's sake.)

We interviewed Neil Shubin for Smithsonian magazine a few years ago, but I have to say that this video tells the story about as well as we did. Neil has since written a delightful book called Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body. The University of Pennsylvania had its incoming freshman class read the book and commissioned The Indoorfins to write a song based on the book.

Shubin and his colleagues are still studying their rock star fossil. They recently analyzed its neck, a feature that is useful if you're on stuck on land and not swimming around in the sea.

One warning: the song's "tik tik tik tik tik-talik" chorus is likely to curse you with an earworm.

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