Well, on 22 January 2010: I edited the Wikipedia entry for Tiktaalik myself:
Tetrapod footprints found in Poland and reported in Nature in January 2010 were “securely dated” at 18 million years older than Tiktaalik, which means that Tiktaalik cannot be part of the fish-to-legged-animal transition, which is now considered to have occurred at around 400 million years ago. [reference to Nature paper]
All the entries on the other alleged transitions (Panderichthys, Acanthostega, etc.) need to be changed too. I wonder when that might happen.
23 January 2010: Less than one day later, my Wikipedia entry was edited:
Tetrapod footprints found in Poland and reported in Nature in January 2010 were “securely dated” at 10 million years older than the oldest known elpistostegids [reference to Nature paper] (of which Tiktaalik is one) implying that animals like Tiktaalik were “late-surviving relics” possessing features that actually evolved around 400 million years ago. [reference to Nature editorial]
So, Wikipedia can respond quickly. I wonder why nothing was said about the Polish footprints for 16 days but my post was edited in just 12 hours.
Interesting. The 18 million years has been reduced to 10 million so it does not sound much of a problem now, does it? But the fact remains that tetrapods were present at least 18 million years (assuming their evolutionary paradigm, of course) before Tiktaalik, and the entry is about Tiktaalik.
No reference now to Tiktaalik being part of the fish-to-land-animal transition. Evercat, who made the change, said, “‘part of the transition’ is meaningless. Nobody ever claimed Tiktaalik as an actual ancestor of anything.” No one ever claimed it was a transition? Richard Dawkins certainly thought Tiktaalik was an ancestor of something when he described it as “the perfect missing link”. How can he think it is a “link” unless it is the ancestor of something?
All the hype surrounding Tiktaalik certainly gives the the impression it was significant in the transition. In fact, the first paragraph on Wikipedia says, “It [Tiktaalik] is an example from several lines of ancient sarcopterygian fish developing adaptations to the oxygen-poor shallow-water habitats of its time, which led to the evolution of amphibians.” Did that say “led to the evolution of amphibians”? That sounds like Tik-tik was presented as part of the transition to land animals to me.
Or is this just a paleontological word game. Is it more about image than substance? Is the idea to make statements that give the impression that there is evidence but knowing that when pressed on the detail there is an escape clause?