New species of ancient four-legged whale discovered in Egypt

DM

Scientists in Egypt have identified a new species of four-legged whale that lived around 43 million years ago. The fossil of the amphibious Phiomicetus anubis was originally discovered in Egypt’s Western Desert. Its skull resembles that of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian jackal-headed god of the dead after which it was named. The ancestors of modern whales developed from deer-like mammals that lived on land over the course of 10 million years. Weighing an estimated 600kg and three metres (10ft) in length, the Phiomicetus anubis had strong jaws to catch prey, according to the study published by the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on Wednesday. The whale was able to walk on land and swim in water. The partial skeleton was found in Egypt’s Fayum Depression and analysed by scientists at Mansoura University. Although the area is now desert, it was once covered by sea and is a rich source of fossils.

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