A Life Spent Chasing Down How Whales Evolved
by Bob Holmes
The intriguing story of how whale evolution was unpicked is told in The Walking Whales, revealing what it’s like to be a globe-trotting palaeontologist
WHALES evolved from cat-sized terrestrial hoofed mammals, evolutionary biologists tell us. How could a tiny, deer-like creature morph into such a radically different leviathan? The notion has often provoked gleeful ridicule from creationists, especially because, until the 1990s, so few intermediate fossils had been discovered.
Little more than a decade later, spectacular finds had bridged that gap so convincingly that whales now stand as one of the best-documented fossil transitions – literally a textbook case of evolution in action.
Much of that change is thanks to Hans Thewissen, a palaeontologist at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, who has made many of the key discoveries. The Walking Whales is his account of his research…
(read more: New Scientist)
image of Pakicetus, via: NHM/SPL
I have met this man. He was the advisor of my Vertebrate Biology teacher, and he taught us all about cetacean ear bones. It’s very cool.
The Ambulocetus skeleton hanging up at NEOMED is pretty cool to look at too.
They did make the Walking Whale the mascot of the university, but I feel like something was lost in translation…
My wife (who just started working there) thinks he looks like Charlie the Tuna after working out too much.