Egyptian scientists discovered a fossil that dates back 43 million years and linked it to a new species of amphibious wale—an ancient four-legged whale.
A team of researchers at the Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology Center (MUVPC) in Mansoura, Egypt, advised that a fossilized partial skeleton was found in the Fayum oasis, an area in the desert west of the Nile River that used to be under the sea. This discovery took place in 2008, and it’s been studied and traced back to the oldest semi-aquatic species in Africa.
The whale is named Phiomicetus Anubis—the first name representing the location it was found and the last name representing the ancient Egyptian God of the Dead. It was estimated to have been three meters long (10 feet), weighing 600 kilograms (1,320 lbs). This species had four functional legs that allowed it to walk on land just as easily as it swam in the sea. And researchers believed that it fed on smaller mammals, crocodiles, and other whale calves.
The Phiomicetus Anubis whale belongs to the Protocetidae family: a group of extinct whales transitioning from land to sea. This validates scientific theories about modern whales evolving from ancient land creatures.
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Photo Credit: PHYS
Mourad, M. (2021, August 27). Fossil of previously unknown four-legged whale found in Egypt. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/fossil-previously-unknown-four-legged-whale-found-egypt-2021-08-25/.
Yirka, B. (2021, September 1). Analysis of new species of ancient four-legged whale published. PHYS. https://phys.org/news/2021-09-analysis-species-ancient-four-legged-whale.html.
Egyptians discover fossil of new amphibious whale. PHYS. (2021, August 27). https://phys.org/news/2021-08-egyptians-fossil-amphibious-whale.html.