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Ancient Whales   [778호]
Ancient Whales0In 2011, paleontologists in Peru unearthed an enormous fossil of a creature that lived more than 42 million years ago. They documented their discovery in a recent issue of Current Biology, and now we finally know more about this amazing animal.
The fossil belonged to a 4-m-long whale that resembled a platypus. The ancient whale had four legs, small hooves, webbed feet, and a beaver-like tail. Known as Peregocetus pacificus, its name means “the traveling whale that reached the Pacific” in Latin. The researchers wrote it could swim and walk, but it most likely had trouble with running. In addition, they stated that there is a big chance that these ancient whales mated and gave birth on land.
Scientists around the world are gleaming with joy, fascinated by these new findings. “Whales are this iconic example of evolution,” said Travis Park, a whale expert at London’s Natural History Museum. “They went from small, hoofed mammals to the blue whale we have today. It’s so interesting to see how they conquered the oceans.”
Scientist Olivier Lambert, the lead author of the study, wrote, “Other examples from this time were more fragmentary, less complete specimens. We didn’t have a clear indication about their swimming and walking abilities.”

Chris Hong
Copy Editor
1. What modern animal did the ancient whale resemble?
2. What did the ancient whale have trouble doing?
3. Where did these ancient whales most likely mate and give birth?
1. Do you know of any other sea creatures that used to be able to walk on land?
2. Why is it important to look for fossils?
3. Why do you think scientists look into evolution lines of so many animals? 4. What do you think humans will look like in a million years from now?