Ancestral species of four-legged whale discovered in Egypt | Nature

Scientists in Egypt have identified an unknown species of four-legged whale that lived 43 million years ago.

the amphibian fossil Phiomycetus anubis it was originally discovered in the western desert of Egypt.

His skull resembles that of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god with the head of a jackal—God of the Dead, as he was named.

The ancestors of modern whales evolved from deer-like land mammals that lived on land for 10 million years.

Weighing about 600 kg and 3 meters long, the Phiomycetus anubis it had jaws strong enough to capture its prey, according to the study published by the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” on Wednesday (25). The whale was able to walk on land and swim in water.

Her partial skeleton was found in the Fayum depression in Egypt and analyzed by scientists at the University of Mansoura. Although the area is now deserted, it was once covered by the sea and is a rich source of fossils.

“O Phiomycetus anubis it is a new species of whale and a major discovery for Egyptian and African paleontology,” study author Abdullah Gohar told Reuters news agency.

Although this is not the first time a fossil of a legged whale has been found, it is believed that the Phiomycetus anubis is the oldest type of semi-aquatic whale to be discovered in Africa.

The first whales are believed to have developed in South Asia about 50 million years ago. In 2011, a team of paleontologists in Peru discovered a 43-million-year-old whale fossil with four legs, webbed feet and hooves.