Remains of four-legged whale that walked on land found in Peru | Sunday Observer

Remains of four-legged whale that walked on land found in Peru

Researchers have long known that the ancestors of the mighty whales were nimble, four-legged creatures that were comfortable both on land and in the sea. However, given that the only evidence of the early mammals had been found in present-day Pakistan, India and parts of Africa, scientists were unsure of how the mammals had dispersed to the Western Hemisphere. Now, thanks to the aptly-named Peregocetus pacificus (P.pacificus), or “travelling whale that reached the Pacific,” paleontologists finally have an answer to this all-important migration mystery.

The team of scientists led by Olivier Lambert, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, stumbled upon the remains of the ancient creature in the marine sediments along the southern coast of Peru, South America in 2011. The pristinely-preserved bones, estimated to be almost 43 million years old, included the mammal's jaw, legs, portions of the spine and tail, and pelvis, as well as fore and hind limbs.

The scientists believe that the Peruvian mammal is evidence that whales, helped by the westward surface currents, crossed the South Atlantic from the western coast of Africa to South America, before eventually coming to North America.

Lambert said, “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.”

(DOGO News)