Join 3,377 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Interesting News Out of Pakistan: Whales Lived on Land
September 19, 2001 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Interesting News Out of Pakistan: Whales Lived on Land Whales evolved from strange wolf-sized creatures that lived on land in modern-day India and Pakistan more than 50 million years ago, and their closest relatives today are cows, camels and giraffes, experts say.
posted by cell divide (21 comments total)

 
They're mammals. Mammals evolved on land. Wouldn't that mean whales have to have evolved from something that lived on land?
posted by moss at 1:30 PM on September 19, 2001


Whales exist. Pigs exist. Therefore, all whales are pigs.
posted by fusinski at 2:08 PM on September 19, 2001


they weren't mammals originally. they were large clumps of seaweed that got tired of just waving in the ocean, so they developed flukes and fins and eyes and swam away.
posted by tolkhan at 2:09 PM on September 19, 2001


they weren't mammals originally. they were large clumps of seaweed that got tired of just waving in the ocean, so they developed flukes and fins and eyes and swam away.
posted by tolkhan at 2:09 PM on September 19, 2001


a theory so nice, i said it twice. (stupid browser)
posted by tolkhan at 2:10 PM on September 19, 2001


Maybe beached whales are just genetic mutations who still think they belong on land. The article says 1 in 100,000 whales still have 'limb nubs'

Or maybe they're re-evolving back on land now that they are becoming endagered in the ocean. Obviously they haven't done their research, or they would realize it ain't easy being a big animal these days anywhere.
posted by cell divide at 2:24 PM on September 19, 2001


Here in Minnesota, whales still live on land. You can see them at the State Fair, hanging around the mini-donut and cheese curd vendors.
posted by gimonca at 3:03 PM on September 19, 2001


I'm interested in seeing how this finding plays out - how did they get from dog-sized wolf things to, well, WHALE SIZED creatures.
"Gosh, that giant squid-thing looks yummy!"
"Wait a million years and you can eat one."
posted by jazon at 3:10 PM on September 19, 2001


oh my god! does this mean whales taste like bacon?!?

/me puts on a bib with a whale on it.
posted by jcterminal at 3:10 PM on September 19, 2001


mmm, blubber.
posted by norm at 4:12 PM on September 19, 2001


Here in Minnesota, whales still live on land. You can see them at the State Fair, hanging around the mini-donut and cheese curd vendors.


They're coming for you now, and they're bringing their deep fried candy bars to force down your throat.
posted by norm at 4:16 PM on September 19, 2001


I heard that same theory applied to dolphins,which also share many of the same biological behaviors as dogs, so it's not totally impossible. The connections between a whale and a giraffe seem pretty slim, however.
posted by Down10 at 4:48 PM on September 19, 2001


"At the Water's Edge" is an excellent book detailing the evolution of amphibians into land-dwelling tetrapods, which later went back into the ocean and evolved into cetaceans (whales), and along a separate path, also evolved into humans. It's fairly well documented and explained.
posted by phaed at 4:58 PM on September 19, 2001


Tonight's Classic B Movie - "Attack of the Amphibious Were-Whales"
posted by lucien at 6:24 PM on September 19, 2001


"They're mammals. Mammals evolved on land. Wouldn't that mean whales have to have evolved from something that lived on land?"

Yes, but according to "the experts" cetaceans had a big mind-change thingy, and went back to the water.
posted by lucien at 6:29 PM on September 19, 2001


BTW, is it ever explained how dolphins got so smart? Also, does anyone have a picture of a whale with vestigial limbs?
posted by Charmian at 7:01 PM on September 19, 2001


What a poorly written article. The mainstream press often does a poor job writing about science and computing, but this one feels more like the result of a hack writer under deadline pressure than usual.

The article is misleading. The news isn't that whales are decended from a land mammal. This is known and is no surprise. The only news here is which animal could be the ancestor.

Down10, they mean to say that whales have a common ancestor with giraffes (and all even-toed ungulates). They don't mean that whales are decended from giraffes or a giraffe-like ancestor.

Richard Dawkins' Climbing Mount Improbable is a good, entertaining book on evolution.
posted by D.C. at 7:28 PM on September 19, 2001


Agreed D.C... Sounds like something you would read at the supermarket counter.
posted by dawiz at 12:17 AM on September 20, 2001


NPR ran a feature on this as well (on 9.19.01). Their website has more information about the discoveries as well as a link to illustrations of the fossils and other cool stuff.
posted by jazon at 7:40 AM on September 20, 2001


BTW, is it ever explained how dolphins got so smart?

excellent school systems.
posted by tolkhan at 8:02 AM on September 20, 2001


and here's some general information about the Ungulates.
posted by tolkhan at 8:07 AM on September 20, 2001


« Older Gay, lesbian troops can serve openly -- for now ...  |  Egyptian plane crashes and U.S... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments