This year has already proven to be successful with regards to impressive scientific discoveries. Only in March were we discussing a new treasure chest of fossils which were unearthed in China and how these led to the discovery of new species. Now, a phenomenon has been unearthed in Peru which sheds new light on how Earth’s ancestors made the transition from land to sea.
Photo source: A. Gennari/CellPress
Ancient Fossils Unveil a Whale with Hooves
A colossal fossil, approximately 42 million years old, has been discovered on the coast on Peru by an International team of scientists. Its build suggests it was able to exist on land and in water, with its magnificent four-metre long body being fully supported by a number of impressive anatomical features.
Whales That Can Walk and Swim
With hooved feet and muscular legs, the whale’s huge body could be carried across land without the assistance of water. Its powerful tail and webbed feet, similar to that of an otter, further convince scientists that it was a mammal which could both walk and swim. In fact, scientists believe the creature could swim for days, or even weeks, at a time while retaining the ability to roam on land. With regards to its diet, the discovery of sharp teeth and a long snout suggests the hooved-whale fed on fish and crustaceans.
An Otter... but also a Whale?
An Impressive Example of Evolution
Previous discoveries of older, smaller whales with four limbs gave scientists an idea of where our modern, magnificent blue whales came from. These date back to approximately 53 million years ago, and were unearthed in India and Pakistan. This latest fossil, however, connects the two mammals and paints a picture of how one became the other. It truly is a great, tangible example of evolution.
But could ancient whales use mobile phones? Because our modern whales can