Code 238869
PublishDate: Saturday, August 28, 2021 14:31

Fossil of previously unknown four-legged whale found in Egypt

Scientists said this week they had discovered the 43 million-year-old fossil of a previously unknown four-legged whale species in Egypt that helps trace the transition of whales from land to sea.

Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_The newly discovered whale belongs to the Protocetidae, a group of extinct whales that falls in the middle of that transition, the -led_team of researchers said in a statement.

Its fossil was unearthed from middle Eocene rocks in the Fayum Depression in Egypt’s Western Desert — an area once covered by sea that has provided a rich seam of discoveries showing the evolution of whales — before being studied at Mansoura University Centre (MUVP).

The new whale, named Phiomicetus anubis, had an estimated body length of some three meters and a body mass of about 600 kg, and was likely a top predator, the researchers said. Its revealed it as the most primitive protocetid whale known from .

Despite recent fossil discoveries, the big picture of early whale evolution in Africa has largely remained a mystery, the researchers said. Work in the region had the potential to reveal new details about the from amphibious to fully aquatic whales, Reuters reported.

The new whale has raised questions about ancient ecosystems and pointed research towards questions such as the origin and coexistence of ancient whales in Egypt, said Hesham Sellam, founder of the and another co-author.

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