Tech & Science: Four-legged prehistoric whale fossil found in Peru - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Tech & ScienceFour-legged prehistoric whale fossil found in Peru

19:50  04 april  2019
19:50  04 april  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Olivier Lambert, a paleontologist at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels and his team traveled to Peru and started to explore the area. As part of

The fossil belongs to a previously unknown genus of sperm whale and has been named Leviathan melvillei in honor of Herman Melville , author of " Moby Dick ," the journal Nature reported Wednesday. The fossil was found in ocean layers were fossils of giant sharks have been found

Four-legged prehistoric whale fossil found in Peru © Alberto GENNARI An artistic reconstruction shows two four-legged amphibian ancestors of whales, one standing along the rocky shore of what is now Peru and the other preying on fish Paleontologists have found a well-preserved fossil of a four-legged amphibian ancestor of whales, a discovery that sheds new light on the mammals' transition from land to the ocean.

The ancestors of whales and dolphins walked on Earth about 50 million years ago in the regions that now comprise India and Pakistan.

Paleontologists have previously found partial fossils of the species in North America that were 41.2 million years old suggesting that by this time, the cetaceans had lost the ability to carry their own weight and walk the Earth.

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Found in the Ocucaje Desert in southern Peru , the fossils belong to a group called Achaeocetes, or ancient whales , that possess both land- and The first whale ancestor was a hairy, four - legged omnivore that evolved into a range of amphibious species 50 million years ago, scientists say.

Pictures and detailed profiles of the prehistoric whales of the Cenozoic Era, ranging from A One of the most common fossil whales of North America, the remains of the four - legged This prehistoric whale earned its name because the fossil of an adult female was found to contain a fossilized

The new specimen, described in a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, is 42.6 million years old and provides fresh information on the evolution of cetaceans.

The fossil was found about 0.6 miles (one kilometer) inland from Peru's Pacific coast, at Playa Media Luna.

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Its mandibles grazed the desert soil and during excavations, the researchers found the lower jaw, teeth, vertebrae, ribs, parts of front and back legs, and even the whale ancestor's long fingers that were likely webbed.

Based on its anatomy, the scientists say this cetacean of about 13 feet (four meters) long could both walk and swim.

"Part of the tail's vertebrae showed similarities with that of present-day semi-aquatic mammals like otters," lead author Olivier Lambert of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences told AFP.

"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."

Four-legged prehistoric whale fossil found in Peru © Olivier LAMBERT Paleontologists have found a well-preserved fossil of a four-legged amphibian ancestor of whales Pieces of four-legged whales were found in Egypt, Nigeria, Togo, Senegal and Western Sahara, but they were so fragmented that it was impossible to decisively conclude whether they could swim.

Endangered whale experiencing mini-baby boom off New England

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Fossil hunters have already amassed a beautiful collection of ancient whales that show how these animals Nonetheless, new finds are still important for enriching this sequence. “Aegyptocetus tarfa is a Four of the ribs contain the tooth marks of a shark, which must have swum upwards at the animal

"This is the most complete specimen ever found for a four-legged whale outside of India and Pakistan," said Lambert.

If the whale in Peru could swim like an otter, the researchers hypothesized that it likely crossed the Atlantic from the western coast of Africa to South America. As a result of contintental drift, the distance was half that of today, around 800 miles, and the east-west current of the time would have facilitated their travel.

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This finding would make less likely another hypothesis according to which whales reached North America via Greenland.

The Pisco Basin, off Peru's southern coast, likely holds numerous fossils, given its excellent conditions for preservation.

"We have work for at least the next 50 years," said Lambert, the paleontologist.

Endangered whale experiencing mini-baby boom off New England.
An endangered species of whale is experiencing a mini-baby boom in New England waters, researchers on Cape Cod have said. The North Atlantic right whale is one of the rarest species of whale on the planet, numbering only about 411. But the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts, said Friday its aerial survey team spotted two mom and calf pairs in Cape Cod Bay a day earlier. That brings the number seen in New England waters alone this year to three. That's big news because the whale's population has been falling, and no calves were seen last year.

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