Paleontologists in Peru have uncovered the fossils of a "walking whale," remains believed to be at least 40 million years old. The whale fossils were found in the Ocucaje desert, one of the richest sources of fossils in the world, and may be evidence of a link between sea mammals and their ancestors living on land.
"We already knew about the paleontological richness of Ocucaje dating back 10-12 million years," said Rodolfo Salas, a paleontologist who was part of the discovery team. "Now we can say that the most important primitive sea mammal deposit in South America is at Ocucaje."
The whale fossils belong to a creature in the suborder Archaeoceti, meaning "ancient whales." These sea mammals share certain characteristics with their land-dwelling ancestors, most notably evidence of legs. The whale had teeth that were more like that of a terrestrial animal, as well as a cavity in the cranium that is more consistent with land mammals than sea mammals.
Written By: Josh Lieberman
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