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Ancient Egyptian killer whale with paws identified as a new species

By on October 2, 2021 0
The 43-million-year-old remains of a four-legged killer whale, found in the Egyptian part of the Sahara Desert, have been identified as a newly discovered species, Reported Study Results last month.

The discovery of this new species is “critical” to understanding the process of evolution from ancient whales into marine mammals we know today, scientists say.

The fossilized remains, which include the skull and ribs, were discovered during a 2008 international expedition to an animal cemetery in the Nile Valley called the Fayum Depression.

The newly discovered species of killer whale, nicknamed Phiomicetus anubis, was probably over three meters long and weighed over 900 kg. It most likely roamed the Earth’s oceans during the Eocene Period, around 56 to 34 million years ago.

The whale’s skeleton revealed that it had a long snout and sharp teeth attached to massive jaws. Experts say it probably looked like something between a modern day dolphin and a giant aquatic wolf.

A camel seen in the Sahara Desert. (credit: REUTERS / AHMED JADALLAH)

A study by the Sallam Lab research group, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, paved the way for discovery.

“When the anatomical evidence led us to the conclusion that this was a new species of whale, it was an incredible feeling of joy and excitement,” said lead author of the study Abdullah said. Gohar, at StudyFinds.

“This contribution greatly advances the understanding of the role that the African the waters played a role in the evolution of whales during the Eocene, ”said Gohar.

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