Scientists in Egypt have identified an unknown four-legged whale species that lived 43 million years ago.
The fossil of the amphibian Phiomicetus anubis was originally discovered in the western desert of Egypt.
Its skull resembles that of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god with the head of a jackal – god of the dead, as he was called.
The ancestors of modern whales evolved from deer-like land mammals that lived on land for 10 million years.
Weighing around 600 kg and three meters long, Phiomicetus anubis had, according to one on Wednesday (25. The whale was able to go ashore and swim in the water.
Its partial skeleton was found in the Fayum Depression in Egypt and analyzed by scientists from the University of Mansoura. Although the area is now deserted, it was once covered by the sea and is a rich source of fossils.
“Phiomicetus anubis is a new species of whale and an important discovery for Egyptian and African paleontology,” study author Abdullah Gohar told Reuters.
While this is not the first time a fossil of a legged whale has been found, Phiomicetus anubis is believed to be the oldest species of semi-aquatic whale discovered in Africa.
The first whales are believed to have evolved in South Asia around 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.