Anders Erik Vilhelm Jarvik (
30 November 1907– January 11, 1998) was a Swedish palaeozoologist who worked extensively on the sarcopterygian (or lobe-finned) fish " Eusthenopteron". In a career that spanned some 60 years, Jarvik produced some of the most detailed anatomical work on this fish, making it arguably the best known fossil vertebrate.
Jarvik was born at a farm in
Utbyin Västergötland. He studied botany, zoology, geology, and paleontologyat Uppsala University, where he took his licentiate's degree in 1937. In 1942, he completed his PhD with the dissertation "On the structure of the snout of Crossopterygians and lower Gnathostomes in general". He participated in the Greenland expedition of Gunnar Säve-Söderberghin 1932 and was appointed assistant in the Department of Palaeozoology of the Swedish Museum of Natural Historyin Stockholmin 1937; he eventually succeeded Erik Stensiöas professor and head of the department in 1960, retiring in 1972.
Jarvik's research concerned mainly the sarcopterygian fishes. His main interests were in the so-called "rhipidistian" sarcopterygian fishes, which he held to be divided into two groups: the Osteolepiformes and the
Porolepiformes. [Jarvik, E. (1942). On the structure of the snout of crossopterygians and lower gnathostomes in general. "Zoologiska Bidrag från Uppsala, 21," 235-675.] He published several solidly descriptive works on Devonian sarcopterygians [Jarvik, E. (1937). On the species of "Eusthenopteron" found in Russia and the Baltic states. "Bulletin of the Geological Institution of the University of Upsala, 27," 63-127.] [Jarvik, E. (1944). On the exoskeletal shoulder-girdle of teleostomian fishes, with special reference to "Eusthenopteron foordi" Whiteaves. "Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens Handlingar, (3)21(7)," 1-32.] [Jarvik, E. (1948). On the morphology and taxonomy of the Middle Devonian osteolepid fishes of Scotland. "Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens Handlingar, 3(25)," 1-301.] [Jarvik, E. (1949). On the Middle Devonian crossopterygians from the Hornelen Field in Western Norway. "Årbok Univ. Bergen, 1948," 1-48.] [Jarvik, E. (1950). Middle Devonian vertebrates from Canning Land and Wegeners Halvö (East Greenland). II. Crossopterygii. "Meddelelser om Gr¢nland, 96(4)," 1-132.] [Jarvik, E. (1950). Note on Middle Devonian crossopterygians from the eastern part of Gauss Halvö, East Greenland. With an appendix: An attempt at a correlation of the Upper Old Red Sandstone of East Greenland with the marine sequence. "Meddelelser om Gr¢nland, 149(6)," 1-20.] [Jarvik, E. (1950). On some osteolepiform crossopterygians from the Upper Old Red Sandstone of Scotland. "Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens Handlingar, (4)2," 1-35.] [Jarvik, E. (1967). On the structure of the lower jaw in dipnoans: with a description of an early Devonian dipnoan from Canada, "Melanognathus canadensis" gen. et sp. nov. In: Fossil vertebrates (eds. C. Patterson & P. H. Greenwood), "Journal of the Linnean Society (Zoology), 47," 155-183.] [Jarvik, E. (1985). Devonian osteolepiform fishes from East Greenland. "Meddelelser om Gr¢nland, Geoscience 13," 1-52.] . In particular, he conducted detailed anatomical studies of the cranium of "Eusthenopteron foordi" using a serial-section technique introduced by William Johnson Sollasand applied to fossil fishes by Erik Stensiö. The different complex regions of the skull was studied comprehensively on the basis of three-dimensional wax models derived from the serial sections [Jarvik, E. (1942). On the structure of the snout of crossopterygians and lower gnathostomes in general. "Zoologiska Bidrag från Uppsala, 21," 235-675.] [Jarvik, E. (1954). On the visceral skeleton in "Eusthenopteron" with a discussion of the parasphenoid and palatoquadrate in fishes. "Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens Handlingar, (4)5," 1-104.] [Jarvik, E. (1975). On the saccus endolymphaticus and adjacent structures in osteolepiforms, anurans and urodeles. "Colloques Internationaux du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 218," 191-211.] This technique was also applied to the cranium of the porolepiform "Glyptolepis groenlandica". [Jarvik, E. (1972). Middle and Upper Devonian Porolepiformes from East Greenland with special reference to "Glyptolepis groenlandica" n. sp. "Meddelelser om Gr¢nland, 187(2)," 1-295.]
Jarvik proposed partly controversial hypotheses about the principal structure of the vertebrate head [Jarvik, E. (1960). "Théories de l'évolution des vertébrés reconsidérées à la lumière des récentes découvertes sur les vertébrés inférieurs." Paris: Masson.] [Bjerring, H. C. (1977). A contribution to structural analysis of the head of craniate animals. The orbit and its contents in 20-22 mm embryos of the North American actinopterygian "Amia calva" L., with particular reference to the evolutionary significance of an aberrant, nonocular, orbital muscle innervated by the oculomotor nerve and notes on the metameric character of the head in craniates. "Zoologica Scripta, 6," 127–183.] [Jarvik, E. (1980). "Basic structure and evolution of vertebrates." Vol. 1. London: Academic Press.] and the origin of the tetrapods. He thus held, on the basis of detailed analyses of the snout and nasal capsule structures as well as the intermandibular, neuroepiphysial, and occipital regions, that urodeles (salamanders) were descended directly from primitive porolepiform fishes, while all other tetrapods (“eutetrapods”) – apodans possibly excepted – were descended from primitive osteolepiforms. [Jarvik, E. (1980). "Basic structure and evolution of vertebrates." Vol. 2. London: Academic Press.] [Jarvik, E. (1986). On the origin of the Amphibia. In: "Studies in Herpetology" (ed. Z. Roček), 1-24. Prague: Charles University.] This view was never widely accepted and is not held by vertebrate paleontologists today.
Jarvik also studied the anatomy and relationships of
lungfish[Jarvik, E. (1968). The systematic position of the Dipnoi. In: "Current Problems of Lower Vertebrate Phylogeny" (ed. T. Ørvig), Nobel Symposium 4, 223-245. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.] which he held to be relatively primitive gnathostomes, possibly related to holocephalans, and of acanthodians [Jarvik, E. (1977). The systematic position of acanthodian fishes. In: "Problems in vertebrate evolution" (eds. S. M. Andrews, R. S. Miles & A. D. Walker), 199-225. London: Academic Press.] , which he considered to be elasmobranchs rather than osteichthyans. He made contributions to a number of classical problems in comparative anatomy, including the origin of the vertebrates [Jarvik, E. (1988). The early vertebrates and their forerunners. In: "L'évolution dans sa réalité et ses diverses modalités," 35-64. Paris: Masson.] the origin of the pectoral and pelvic girdles and paired fins, [Jarvik, E. (1965). On the origin of girdles and paired fins. "Israel Journal of Zoology, 14," 141-172.] and the homologies of the frontal and parietal bones in fishes and tetrapods [Jarvik, E. (1967). The homologies of frontal and parietal bones in fishes and tetrapods. "Colloques Internationaux du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 163," 181-213.]
Finally, Jarvik investigated the anatomy of "
Ichthyostega", resulting in a monograph with an extensive photographic documentation of the material collected in 1929-1955. [Jarvik, E. (1996). The Devonian tetrapod "Ichthyostega". "Fossils and Strata, 40," 1-213.]
Some of Jarvik’s views did not accord with general opinion in vertebrate paleontology. [Panchen, A. (1981). A Devonian view of vertebrate evolution. "Nature, 292," 565-566.] [Jarvik, E. (1981). [Review of:] Lungfishes, Tetrapods, Paleontology, and Plesiomorphy. "Systematic Zoology, 30," 378-384.] [Janvier, P. (1998). Erik Jarvik (1907-1998). Palaeontologist renowned for his work on the "four-legged fish." "Nature, 392," 338.] However, his anatomical studies of "Eusthenopteron foordi" laid the foundations for modern studies of the transition from fishes to tetrapods. Jarvik was a member of the
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciencesand French Academy of Sciencesand Knight of the Order of Vasa. The lungfish "Jarvikia" [Lehman, J.-P. (1959). Le Dipneustes du Devonien supérieur du Groenland. "Meddelelser om Gr¢nland, 164," 1-58.] and the osteolepiform "Jarvikina" [Vorobyeva, E. (1977). Morphology and nature of evolution of crossopterygian fish. "Trudy Paleontologicheskogo Instituta an SSSR, Akademia Nauk SSSR, 163," 1-239.] are named after him.
Hans C. Bjerring
* "Théories de l'évolution des vertébrés reconsidérées à la lumière des récentes découvertes sur les vertébrés inférieurs." Masson, Paris. 1960.
* "Basic Structure and Evolution of Vertebrates, 2 Vols." Academic Press, London. 1980
* [http://biodb.biology.ualberta.ca/wilson.hp/paleozoic/Jarvik_Obituary.html An Obituary to Erik Jarvik]
* [http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v392/n6674/full/392338a0_fs.html&content_filetype=pdf "Erik Jarvik (1907-98) : Palaeontologist renowned for his work on the 'four-legged fish'"] , obituary by
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Erik Jarvik — Anders Erik Vilhelm Jarvik (* 30. November 1907 in Utby, Schweden; † 11. Januar 1998 in Stockholm, Schweden) war ein schwedischer Paläozoologe, der besonders durch seine intensiven Arbeiten über Eusthenopteron foordi (Sarcopterygii) bekannt wurde … Deutsch Wikipedia
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