Scientists determined that this extinct animal had four limbs, with its hind legs more robust than its front legs.
Paleontologists at the University of Michigan, USA, discovered fossils that belonged to a legged whale. The remains of the extinct animal were found in the world-heritage desert region of Uadi Al-Hitan, west of the Fayum oasis in Egypt.
Among the findings in the desert was a partially recovered skull and a complete spine, among other bones that the researchers attributed to a previously unknown species called Aegicetus gehennae.
The animal is typified as a "protocetidae" whale, ie it does not belong to the cetaceans as they are known today, according to the article published this Wednesday (11) in PLOS One magazine.
Cervical and thoracic vertebrae of Aegicetus gehennae
The skull of this marine mammal is characterized by bony protuberances on the back of the head. The scientific team has focused much of its attention on the extremities, which include some long bones, but not as long as one might expect from a walking animal of this size.
Research shows that the bones of his front and hind legs were of similar length, but the hind legs were more robust than the front ones. Researchers calculated that the animal's weight would be approximately 890 pounds.
The lengthening of its vertebral structure, the loss of a pelvic joint and the reduction of the posterior extremities indicate that Aegicetus gehennae would have been more aquatic and less specialized in standing swimming than previous known protocetid species.
. (tagsToTranslate) Unknown species (t) whale fossils (t) Egypt