Not what you might call a typical “Yet another X” line, I know. I wanted to write a post about the matter this morning, and in the interim, I found out that pretty much half of scienceblogs wrote eloquent, descriptive and fascinating posts about this.
So, just to mention this to anyone who’s not an avid scienceblogs reader – a new fossil found in Pakistan of a protocetid (ancient whale). Finding a well-preserved fossil of a transitional form is amazing already, but, and this is the kicker:
The fossil was of a female pregnant whale, and contained a fossilised fetus in it.
The fossilized fetus suggests two things:
A.Since the fetus already had teeth, it’s likely that the species of whale had precocious birth (that is, the animal is ready to fend for itself as soon as it’s born).
B.The positioning of the fetus is evidence of terrestial birthgiving, meaning: the animal was amphibious, yet it gave birth on land. Since the fetus was faced head-first, and this is a key feature in mammals, it is presented as evidence for terrestrial birthgiving. Apparently, this isn’t a novel trait in modern whales – disproving this find as a meaningful innovation in ancient whales. Kudos to Michael Hawking for letting me know.
A theory in crisis!!!!!!1
Oh, yeah. Check out the other posts about the recent discovery on Pharyngula (and thereof).