Egyptian scientists claim that the fossil of a prehistoric four-legged whale, unearthed over a decade ago in the country’s western desert, is that of one previously unknown species., furthermore it is believed that the creature, a ancestor of the modern whale, is lived 43 million years ago.
The prehistoric four-legged whale, known as semi-aquatic because it lived both on land and in the sea, sported the characteristics of a skilled hunter, the Associated Press told the team’s chief paleontologist, Hesham Sallamfeatures that make it stand out among other whale fossils.
The fossil of this four-legged prehistoric whale was first found by a team of Egyptian conservationists in 2008 in an area that, in prehistoric times, was covered by the seas, however the researchers only published their findings last month, confirming a new species.
Sallam said his team did not begin examining the fossil until 2017 because he wanted to bring together the best and most talented Egyptian paleontologists for the study.
“This is the first time in the history of Egyptian vertebrate paleontology that an Egyptian team leads the documentation of a new genus and species of four-legged whale”
The fossil of the prehistoric four-legged whale sheds light on the evolution of these cetaceans, from herbivorous terrestrial mammals to carnivorous species that today live exclusively in water.
The transition took place over a period of approximately 10 million years, according to an article published on the discovery in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The western Egyptian desert region is already known for the so-called Valley of the Whales, or Wadi Al-Hitan, a tourist attraction and the only natural site in the country World Heritage Site which contains fossil remains of a other type of prehistoric whales.
The newly discovered creature belongs to the Protecetidae family, extinct semi-aquatic whales that lived 59 to 34 million years ago and, as I told you a little while ago, would have walked on land but also hunted in water, according to what Sallam said
“This is another new species of early whales since they retained four functional limbs”
he has declared Jonathan Geisler, expert in mammalian evolutionary history with the New York Institute of TechnologyHe further said that the location of the discovery in Egypt is also a clue as to when and how they spread around the world, however he was not involved in the find.
Learn more about the prehistoric four-legged whale and its kind
The oldest fossil whales are around 50 million years old and are believed to be native to modern day Pakistan and India, however scientists have not been able to reach a conclusive answer as to when the whales moved from their point of origin. to all the oceans of the world.
“This new species alone cannot answer this question, but when viewed in the context of other fossil discoveries, it suggests that this dispersal occurred 43 million years ago.”
Geisler said, adding that the new discovery could serve as a link between Indo-Pakistan and North American regions.
The four-legged prehistoric whale was named Phiomicetus Anubis, from the god of death in ancient Egypt.
“We chose the name Anubis because it had a strong and deadly bite. It could kill any creature it encounters. “
he said Sallam, professor of paleontology at the University of Mansoura in Egypt.
The new species is distinguished by its elongated skull and snout which suggest it was an efficient carnivore capable of grasping and chewing its prey, in terms of size it was around 3 meters (9 feet long) and weighed around 600. kilograms.
It is also believed that he had acute hearing and a sense of smell.
The discovery followed a four-year collaboration between Egyptian paleontologists and US-based scientists, plus Sallan’s team has already made headlines around the world with the 2018 discovery of Mansourasaurus, a new species of herbivorous dinosaurs long-necked who lived in the Nile delta province of Mansoura.
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