Wild Things: Life as We Know It- page 2 | Science | Smithsonian
(Jim and Jamie Dutcher / NGS Image Collection)

Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Wolves, hibernating animals, spitting cobras and more

Proto Whale

Maiacetus inuus was a land animal highly adapted to life in the sea
(Maura McCarthy)
Newly analyzed 47.5-million-year-old fossils from Pakistan are yielding fresh insights into the early ancestors of modern whales. Maiacetus inuus was a land animal highly adapted to life in the sea. One fossil encased a fetus positioned for a head-first delivery, which is typical of a land mammal and suggests the species gave birth onshore. But it probably spent most of its time in the water: its big teeth were suited for catching fish and its flipper-like feet couldn't have been great for walking.

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