Whales, these amazing and gigantic aquatic animals are known to all and although there are many different species, they all have certain similarities that make them look alike. However, scientists have now made an impressive discovery.
43 million years ago, a four-legged whale lived on our planet. The ancient amphibian animal not only swam across the oceans but also walked on land.
Egyptian scientists announced that they have managed to identify a new species of this extraordinary specimen.
It is the fossil of the amphibian Phiomicetus anubis that was originally discovered in the Western desert of Egypt. His name was chosen because his skull resembles that of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian jackal-headed god of the dead.
These animals arose from deer-like mammals that inhabited Earth for more than 10 million years.
Millenary Four-Legged Whale Found In Egypt
Weighing an estimated 1,300 pounds and just over 10 feet in length, the Phiomycetus anubis had strong jaws to catch prey.
The skeleton was found in the Fayum Depression, west of the Nile River, by scientists from the University of Mansoura. Although the area is now desert, it is presumed that at some point in the history of our planet it came to be covered by the sea and is a rich source of fossils.
“Phiomicetus anubis is a new species of whale that constitutes a critical discovery for Egyptian and African paleontology,” said Abdullah Gohar, the study’s lead author.
While this isn’t the first time a fossil of a legged whale has been found, Phiomycetus anubis could be the first type of semi-aquatic whale ever discovered in Africa.
Hesham Sallam, the founder of the Center for Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Mansoura, celebrated the discovery and shared on Twitter the location of the find in the Egyptian desert.
The early evolution of whales in Africa remains largely a mystery, the researchers said, as the first whales are believed to have evolved in South Asia about 50 million years ago.