whale evolution documentary
Such evolutionary changes occurred throughout the body. Following pakicetids and Ambulocetus in time as well as on the evolutionary branches leading to modern cetaceans are remingtonocetids, again a family known only from Pakistan and India. Whale Evolution Part of the Whales: Giants of the Deep exhibition. This early phase in cetacean evolution was characterized by great experimentation. If we are able to identify some genes that are engaged in the development of multiple organ systems and that show consistent differences between cetaceans and other mammals, we may have identified the fingerprints of the process of cetacean origins. Lucas Lima Staff Artist All Posts. THE WOLF-WHALE Art has been used for decades to portray the supposed evolution of the whale from a small land creature. The blue whale's shape is near-perfectly hydrodynamic, uninterrupted by hind limbs, ears or genitals. From the chemistry of the teeth, it is clear that Indohyus was a plant eater, and its dense bones suggest that they functioned as ballast, allowing the animal to stay submerged. The nose shifted back onto the forehead, to make breathing while submerged easier. The shape of the vertebrae indicates that remingtonocetids do not have a fluke, but the tail vertebrae are somewhat flattened, suggesting that the tail was flat in the horizontal plane. However, the last common ancestor of hippos and whales goes back some 50 million years, and it did not look at all like a hippo or a whale. One of the things I personally find quite enjoyable about evolutionary theory is the counter-intuitiveness of some of the predictions it makes. That all changed in the 1990s and 2000s, when a remarkable series of fossils was discovered: intermediate animals showing a mix of land and water features water ancestral to all modern cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises). Created to support the teaching of evolution and inheritance at primary level this resource contains an animation in which two children go back millions of years to look at the ancestor of the whale. This brought ridicule from his readers, and the statement was shortened in subsequent editions until whale origins was banished altogether in the last edition published during his life. I t has been said that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and I have no doubt that more people have been influenced to believe in evolution by artwork than by words. Whale Evolution and Fossils. The first fully aquatic cetaceans, and the group from which all modern cetaceans are derived, are the basilosaurids. With whales being mammals, and mammalian ancestors being land animals, whale ancestors must have lived on land too. Unlike the earlier families, this implies that protocetids were able to cross large stretches of water and were thus good swimmers. The blue whale's shape is near-perfectly hydrodynamic, uninterrupted by hind limbs, ears or genitals. Now, so many fossils have been found that it became possible to study evolutionary changes in great detail, allowing an unprecedented understanding of land adaptations evolving into water adaptations. While that simple concept is a platitude to 21st century readers, it was not for most people throughout human history. They are a diverse group, with much morphological diversity. Evolution of the Whale - 65 Million Years - Wolf-Like Ancester to Whale. Read about our approach to external linking. It is likely that they swung this tail through the water in an up-down movement, which is of course the movement that the modern cetaceans make to propel themselves with their triangular fluke. It has a thick layer of blubber, in some places 20 inches thick, which helps to insulate it from the chill of the deep water. A Brief Review of the “Whale Transitional” Series Supposed “early” whales have little in common with hippos or living whales. Everyone has heard of the blue whale, yet they are rarely seen and not often filmed. Basilosaurids have the familiar attributes of modern cetaceans, they are streamlined, they have a fluke, and their forelimb is a paddle. Whale evolution fraud Another evolutionary icon bites the dust. They may have been the first cetacean pursuit predators in open water. In 1758, the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus included this marine species in his book “Systema Naturae” setting the ground for further research on this and other cetaceans. The relevant fossil record went from non-existent to excellent, and confirmed the molecular biologists’ finding that the closest relatives of cetaceans were indeed the artiodactyls (even-toed ungulates including cattle, deer, pigs, hippos, camels, and giraffe). The first known species to do this is Ambulocetus natans. However, the traces of the ancestral land mammal ancestors are still retained in cetacean embryos, which have a distinct neck, with a long and narrow tail instead of a fluke, and with hind limbs that protrude from the body. They have a long slender body with a … All that's left of the back legs are two isolated hip bones buried in a mountain of muscle. Although difficult to comprehend, at 30 metres in length and 180 metric tons or more in weight, the blue whale is the largest animal ever known to have existed. Recognizing the conundrum as one of the great challenges to his theory of evolution by natural selection, Charles Darwin took a stab at accounting for whales in the first edition of Origin of Species. David Attenborough rides on a boat next to a whale as it breaches and he remarks that no animal of this size could survive on land as no bone is strong enough to support such huge bulk out of the water. Various species of toothed whale are known to eat everything from numerous species of fish, squid, octopus and crustaceans to marine animals such as sharks, penguins, seals and sea lions, as well as other cetaceans such as whales, dolphins and porpoises (primarily hunted by killer whales). Playing next. Archaeocetes. Ambulocetus’ limbs are short, the tail powerful and the snout long. With the new fossils and DNA data, molecular biologists were also able to solve Darwin’s vexing problem of what whales are related to. Even though they are the first whales, they looked nothing like modern whales. Instead of being located on the top of the head, to see outside the water, remingtonocetid eyes are placed on the side of the head, consistent with hunting aquatic prey. The part of the skull that houses the remingtonocetid ear is large, suggesting that they had excellent hearing. Watch more magic moments from David Attenborough, Watch more video clips about animal record breakers. There were crocodile-like whales, otter-like whales, and seal-like whales, and all these body plans were tested and then went extinct, until, in the end, only one body type was left. It resembles crocodiles even more than pakicetids, while pakicetids had long limbs that could raise it up on land, Ambulocetus was more sprawling. The placement of the eyes is also unusual. Whale Evolution: by Nature Video. Killer Whale Ancestors. Examine the environmental pressures that turned a wolflike creature that hunted in shallow waters into a leviathan of the seas. Protocetid cetaceans lived at the same time as remingtonocetids, but in somewhat different habitats. Even those who were intimately familiar with the shape and behavior of whales, the whalers who hunted them, thought of whales as fish. It is clear that some protocetids had a tail similar to that of ambulocetids and remingtonocetids, and it is also possible that some already had a fluke. This is the same body type present in all roughly 90 modern species of cetaceans: a streamlined body with no neck, ending in a horizontally placed triangular fluke, lacking external hind limbs and with paddle shaped forelimbs, with a skin that is mostly devoid of hair, and a nose opening that forms the blowhole on the forehead. It is possible that Indohyus lived similarly, and that predator avoidance was the first aquatic behavior displayed by the ancestors of cetaceans. These first whales, such as Pakicetus, were typical land animals. Ambulocetus was possibly coastal, still taking advantage of thirsty prey coming to drink, but also venturing out in lagoons and the surf. Cetaceans are fully aquatic marine mammals belonging to the order Artiodactyla, and branched off from other artiodactyls around 50 mya (million years ago). Whales are mammals! This powerful underwater hunter looked and probably behaved somewhat like a furry crocodile. That feature may have helped it as its descendants became meat-eating whales. Using art CGI, this film follows the remarkable evolution of a land animal into the modern whale. Unlike modern whales, basilosaurids did have external hind limbs, but these were so small that they could not bear the animal’s weight, and their function, if any, is unclear. NOAA NOS/Pacific Services Center NOAA Inouye Regional Center 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg 176 Honolulu, HI 96818 808.725.5250 Email comments to email@example.com Cheetahs, falcons, elephants and whales - meet the animal record breakers. Whale evolution is one of the most fascinating examples of evolution that there is. This is a puzzle that is not solved and maybe Indohyus ate a kind of plant food that required processing by teeth similar to meat. Four million years later, it lived permanently in the oceans and seas of planet earth. by Don Batten. Whale evolution: an example of converging lines of evidence. To illustrate this approach, I will present the evidence from multiple fields for the origin of the whales from terrestrial mammals. This is an exciting concept. Like Indohyus, pakicetids are only known from Pakistan and India. The next step on the evolutionary ladder are the first cetaceans, pakicetids. Unlike the hippo’s ancestor, whale ancestors moved to the sea and evolved into swimming creatures over a period of about 8 million years. It is here that cetaceans originated. Evolution of Whales. The dogs, the Indohyus and the Pakicetus prowled the basins of rivers and lakes throughout the Himalayas. A heart the size of a small family car beats 5 or 6 times a minute and drives 10 tonnes of blood through a million miles of blood vessels. Bear Necessities. Both hippos and whales evolved from four-legged, even-toed, hoofed (ungulate) ancestors that lived on land about 50 million years ago. When they perceive danger, they jump into the water, hiding fully submerged. Browse more videos. Unlike remingtonocetids, protocetids are found in localities that indicate open, clear water, and they had big eyes. Tertiary Outcrops Yielding Fossil Whales in … J. G. M. ‘Hans’ Thewissen is the Ingalls Brown Professor of Anatomy at Northeast Ohio Medical University. Lying art. The blue whale has the ability to store oxygen within the tissues of its body as well as in its blood, allowing it to stay underwater without breathing for half an hour or more. Whale Evolution. It is mind-boggling to think that all the different organs – limbs, ears, nose – had to change all at the same time, and one wonders how the genome changes needed to enable the morphological changes accumulated. It is possible that both cetaceans and hippos are derived from Indohyus or a similar species. Often, seemingly minor features provide critical evidence to link animals that are highly … The entire evolutionary sequence, from little Indohyus diving into streams, to modern cetacean-like basilosaurids took about 8 million years. The ears had to change, since sound in water is very different from sound in air. Mouse deer eat fruits and leaves on the forest floor, and like to live near small streams. The issue of whale evolution is one that is very interesting. Modern-day ungulates include hippopotamus, giraffe, deer, pig and cow. In part one, The Walking Whale shows how 50 million years ago, a hungry land animal got into shallow seawater. This paper will examine mutually reinforcing evidence from nine independent areas of whale evolution that we would anticipate in the fossil record. In 1994, Dr. Gingerich reported finding Rodhocetus, a purported “walking whale.” It was a four-legged animal with a whale’s tail ... but this has not been communicated to the public either. 50 million years ago, a hungry land animal waded in shallow sea water. It collects food wholesale, taking in a tonne of krill-filled water with one sideways gulp. The kidneys also changed, since freshwater is not available to drink in ocean living mammals. The evolution of whales over 4 years ago by Hans Thewissen Hans Thewissen Guest Writer All Posts. In Moby Dick, Herman Melville has his protagonist enumerate the reasons why scientists believe that whales are mammals, but then, with bold eloquence, he exclaims: “Be it known that, waving all argument, I take the good old fashioned ground that the whale is a fish, and call upon holy Jonah to back me.”. The limbs lost their function in body support, but now had to work as locomotor organs in the new, dense medium. From its inception, Darwinian evolution has been popularized by art. Fossil evidence indicates that a nimble, deer-like mammal called Indohyus is even more closely related to whales. Some basilosaurids looked like a dolphin, and it is likely that their lifestyle resembled that of dolphins. Four million years later, he lived permanently in the oceans and seas of planet Earth. Sir David's delight at the privileged close up view of one of these ocean giants as it breached right beside him is evident. If evolution is true: whales are related to the even-toed hoofed mammals and should share common ancestors with them; transitional fossil forms dating from about 45 to 50 million years ago should be found which can be shown to be related to both the even-toed hoofed mammals and modern whales; whales are most closely related to modern hippos, and should share a common ancestor with them. In it, Charles Darwin proposed that all species were descended from other species and eventually had one common ancestor. Instead, they were more similar to a large dog or wolf. With such a complete fossil record, a rich diversity of modern whales and their embryos, and the powerful new molecular techniques, it may be possible to approach that question. Killer whales are the only species in the genus Orcinus. The trend toward more aquatic life continues, the limbs are shorter than in the earlier whales, and the tail is long and powerful. http://www.eartharchives.org/articles/the-evolution-of-whales/, The Walking Whales: From Land to Water in Eight Million Years, Giant early whale Basilosaurus hunted the calves of other whales, New Zealand’s 25 million year old “Dawn Whales”, The evolution of filter-feeding in whales. It is likely that remingtonocetids used their ears in prey detection, a feature in common with modern toothed whales. That American classic was written in 1851, eight years before the publication of another classic that shook the intellectual world of its time: The Origin of Species. Whales: Giants of the Deep. Ambulocetus is known from Pakistan, and only one complete skeleton has ever been discovered. As it tilts its 100 tonne bulk downwards from the surface of the water, the whale plunges to the black world 500 feet or more below the surface. It is indeed thought that pakicetids were ambush predators, preying on land animals coming to the water to drink, or maybe catching fish trapped in shallow water. Prothero, 2007. In spite of the short limbs, the feet are large, and they were probably the organ that these animals swam with. Thus, over hundreds of millions they left the sea, grew legs, grew fur, and evolved lungs. Aged individuals have teeth that are worn down with use, and that tooth wear is different from that of related plant-eaters. The DNA evidence points to one particular artiodactyl as the closest relative to whales: the hippopotamus. Then they returned to the sea, lost their legs and fur, but kept their lungs. While that simple concept is a platitude to 21st century readers, it was not for most people throughout human history. Where were those land ancestors, or the intermediates to life in water, creationists demanded and they made fun of the idea that whales were somehow related to cows and their even-toed relatives, calling the idea an "udder" failure. Could it be that some changes in the genome affected several disparate organ systems simultaneously, in fact creating an evolutionary shortcut that created novel morphologies at a high rate? With the help of computer graphics, David Attenborough gets right inside the body of the blue whale to show off its amazing mammalian anatomy. Whales are mammals! And all of those changes, and many others, accumulated in short succession. Whales, like all mammals, evolved from reptiles, amphibians, and fish. A small deer like creature that lived about 48 million years ago and resembles a small deer, but was only about the size of a raccoon.The sister group of the (pakicetidae) indohyus share several characteristics with cetaceans (whales) including an unusual characteristic only found between the two species known as an Involucrum (A layer of new bone growth outside of existing bone). Share. The children observe and discuss the changes that happened as this animal evolved over many generations. In addition to South Asia, protocetids also conquered the oceans, and have been found in continents from Africa to South and North America. In fact, the tooth wear looks more similar to that of the meat-eating early whales. Killer Whale Evolution. Pakicetus, a small predator, was like a bizarre combination of whale and wolf, a mixture that certainly worked. Some other features are also indicative of more aquatic life. Their fossils are only ever found in rocks that formed in shallow streams, never in the ocean, and it is likely that pakicetids were waders or bottom walkers in these streams. Whale Evolution: Call it an unfinished story, but with a plot that's a grabber. Indeed, the land ancestry of whales remained a thorny issue for the scientists, as all fossil whales, throughout the 19th and much of the 20th century showed the fully aquatic features of animals that could not survive on land. The first step in the evolutionary process, Indohyus had the habits of a mouse deer, a small herbivore that browsed in the undergrowth. Evolution designed new forms, tried them out, and discarded most of them, until at the end only the modern cetacean body plan remained. 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