Friday, February 22, 2008

Whales Missing Link Found-photos

The 48 million year old ungulate Indohyus from India. Indohyus is a close relative of whales, and the structure of its bones and chemistry of its teeth indicate that it spent much time in water. In this reconstruction, it is seen diving in a stream, much like the modern African Mousedeer does when in danger. Reconstruction by Carl Buell. (Credit: Image courtesy of Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy)

Hans Thewissen, Ph.D., Professor of the Department of Anatomy, Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM), has announced the discovery of the missing link between whales and their four-footed ancestors.

Scientists since Darwin have known that whales are mammals whose ancestors walked on land, and in the past 15 years, researchers led by Dr. Thewissen have identified a series of intermediate fossils documenting whale’s dramatic evolutionary transition from land to sea. But one step was missing: The identity of the land ancestors of whales.