A group of scientists in Egypt has excavated the fossil of a new species of whale with four legs that is anticipated to have lived about 43 million years ago.
The discovery is on the basis of the fossil of a whale which was excavated from the West Desert of Egypt. The species was named Phiomicetus Anubis as its skull had a resemblance with an ancient jackal-headed god of Death, Anubis.
The fossil was discovered from the Eocene rocks in the Fayum Depression of Egypt. Even though the area is a desert now, it was once a sea. The whale is anticipated to have weighed nearly 600 kgs and measured around 10 feet in length.
The partial fossil was examined by researchers at the Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology Centre in West Egypt and it will undergo further research there.
The fossil comes from the Protocetidae which is a group of extinct variety that comes in the middle of their transition from amphibian to fully aquatic. The ancestors of modern whales are deer-like mammals that lived on land over 10 million years ago.
“Phiomicetus Anubis is a key new whale species, and a critical discovery for Egyptian and African paleontology,” the study’s lead author, Mr. Abdullah Gohar stated.
The scientists stated that during the lifetime of the creature the four-legged whale would have been a predator. Further, the researchers revealed that the whales of this period were a mystery until now, however, the new discovery offers some clarity.
Even though it is the first fossil of a whale with legs to be discovered, the Phiomicetus Anubis is considered to be the earliest type of semi-aquatic whale to be found in Africa. In 2011, a group of scientists in Peru found a 43-million-year-old four-legged whale fossil.