Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Early whales may have given birth on land

A fossil find in Pakistan suggests early whales gave birth on land 47.5 million years ago. (Science Friday) The find shows a pregnant proto-whale (Maiacetus inuus), the fetus situated head-out. Modern whales give birth tail-first. The evidence, to Pound360, is a little shaky. First, this is the only find of its kind. Is this an exception to the rule? Second, researchers had suspected early whales gave birth on land, so we wonder if the evidence here isn't being amplified to fit expectations. Pound360 supposes we'll have to wait for the next fossil find.

Scientists believe ancient whales moved from the land into the ocean as competition for food on land heated up. (
Wired)

Best we can tell, in the Maiacetus inuus fossil below, the blue chunk towards the far left is the unborn fetus' skull...

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.