More than 40 million-year-old four-legged whale discovered in Peru

Walking whale
Preserved Parts of the Skeleton of Peregocetus pacificus gen. et sp. nov. MUSM 3580 Holotype

Palaeontologist Mario Urbina along with his team in 2011 found a 42-million-year-old, four-legged fossilized whale in the coastal areas of Peru and now the team has revealed their mindblowing findings in the recently published study report.

As per the study palaeontologists were successful in recovering most of the four-legged whale skeleton that includes its jaw, legs, tail, and some parts of its spine. The researchers also revealed that the fossil dates back to the middle Eocene Epoch period, and it is almost 42.5 million years old.

The new whale has been now named 'Peregocetus pacificus', which means 'a travelling whale that reached the Pacific' in Latin.

It should be noted that this fossil is the oldest whale remnants ever to be discovered from Peru. Researchers also added that this is the most complete whale skeleton researchers have discovered outside India and Pakistan.

"This is the first indisputable record of a quadrupedal whale skeleton for the whole Pacific Ocean, probably the oldest for the Americas, and the most complete outside India and Pakistan. We will keep searching in localities with layers as ancient, and even more ancient, than the ones of Playa Media Luna, so older amphibious cetaceans, a group that includes whales and dolphins may be discovered in the future," said Olivia Lambert, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in a recent statement, Science Daily reports.

The research report suggested that this ancient whale literally resembled an otter, and hinted that this fossil might be of an early form of whale that had not yet fully transitioned to an amphibian. Researchers also added that this new discovery will hold clues about how whales spread all across the planet, and later evolving as a complete amphibian. The new findings also suggested that ancient whales initially settled in South America before they reached North America.

The study was published in the journal 'Current Biology.'