Whales belong in the ocean, right? That may be true today, but cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises) actually descended from four legged mammals that once lived on land. New research published in Current Biology reports the discovery in Peru of an entirely new species of ancestral whale that straddled land and sea, providing insight into the weird evolutionary journey of our mammalian friends.
We might think of them as smooth, two-flippered ocean swimmers that struggle to even survive the Thames, but whales originated more than 50 million years ago from artiodactyls—land-dwelling, hoofed mammals.
Whales - Ancestors - Deer - Toes - Hoof
Initially, whales’ ancestors resembled small deer, with four toes, each one ending in a small hoof. One...