Featured Image: Geology
Almost 50 million years ago, whales and dolphins as we know them today did not exist. Instead, their ancestors were busy walking around on solid ground around the continent of Asia. Eventually, these mammals would make the transition from land to water, but newly found fossils help shed some light on that.
The fossil found was around .6 miles inland from Peru’s Pacific Coast. It had front and back legs with potentially webbed feet to carry it around on land. The anatomy of the fossil indicated that the creature could both walk and swim.
According to Oliver Lambert, the lead author at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, “Part of the tail’s vertebrae showed similarities with that of present-day semi-aquatic mammals like otters. This would, therefore, have been an animal that would have started to make growing use of its tail to swim, which differentiates it from older cetaceans in India and Pakistan. This is the most complete specimen ever found for a four-legged whale outside of India and Pakistan.”
The fossil does not give any definitive answers to paleontologists. Jokingly, they admitted to having enough work for the next 50 years. Hopefully, these fossil clues will be able to tell the story of how whales came to be.
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