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Four-legged Species can be Missing Link to Whale’s Origin Story

Four-legged Species can be Missing Link to Whale’s Origin Story

The four-legged amphibian had lived in Asia around 50 million years ago and traveled to North America thereafter.

The 42 million years old fossils will help the researchers to understand the evolution and geographical spread of the aquatic mammals. It is named as Peregocetus pacificus which means ‘traveling whale that reached the Pacific’ in Latin; it is four-legged with 4-meter height, tail and a snout making it look like an otter rather than a whale. The researchers believe, the ancestors of dolphins and whales have evolved from small, four-limed, hoofed animals that lived in South Asia around 50 million years ago during the Eocene. Fossils evidence found tells us that they reached North America by 41.2 million years ago by swimming from West Africa across the Atlantic Ocean.

Its fossils outstandingly well-preserved were discovered in 2011 at site Playa Media Luna. It is the same place where paleontologists have found most of its skeleton namely jaw, bits of spine, front and hind legs, and tail. Oliver Lambert, paleontologists at Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences addressed saying “This is the first indisputable record of a quadrupedal whale skeleton for the whole Pacific Ocean, probably the oldest for the Americas, and the most complete outside India and Pakistan.” The research further tells us that the creature was fairly comfortable on dry land just as it was in the water.

However, Peregocetus pacificus isn’t the first four-legged amphibious to be discovered. Still, it can help to connect a massive link to Whale’s origin. This discovery is not only true scientifically, but fits right narratively. The bones, discovered in southern Peru indicate that those animals reached South America 42.6 million years ago. Thereafter, they are believed to be migrated up in North America.


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