Four-legged, land-walking whale discovered
September 2, 2021 | 6 comments
Not your average whale... Image Credit: Dr Robert W. Boessenecker
The fossil remains of a particularly unusual species of prehistoric whale have been unearthed in Egypt.
Measuring three meters in length and weighing in at around 600kg, this bizarre 'land whale' lived around 43 million years ago in what is now Egypt's Western Desert.
Known as Phiomicetus anubis
, it had a large snout and strong jaws that it used to catch prey, while its four legs helped it to swim as well as to emerge from the water and walk around on dry land.
The earliest known semi-aquatic whale ever found on the continent, the species was thought to have itself evolved from land-dwelling deer-like animals over a period of around 10 million years.
The fossil remains were discovered in an area of the desert basin known as the Fayum Depression.
"Phiomicetus anubis is a key new whale species, and a critical discovery for Egyptian and African palaeontology," said study lead author Abdullah Gohar.
The first ever whales were thought to have evolved around 50 million years ago in Asia.
Source: BBC News
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