Dolphins once walked on land!

I know this isn’t celebrity news, but it’s pretty interesting. Scientists have found a dolphin with an extra set of fins, suggesting that dolphins once had legs and walked on land. Maybe this news came out earlier about dolphins once being land-dwellers, but this is the first I’ve heard of it.

Fossil remains show dolphins and whales were four-footed land animals about 50 million years ago and share the same common ancestor as hippos and deer. Scientists believe they later transitioned to an aquatic lifestyle and their hind limbs disappeared.

Whale and dolphin fetuses also show signs of hind protrusions but these generally disappear before birth.

Though odd-shaped protrusions have been found near the tails of dolphins and whales captured in the past, researchers say this was the first time one had been found with well-developed, symmetrical fins, Hayashi said.

“I believe the fins may be remains from the time when dolphins’ ancient ancestors lived on land … this is an unprecedented discovery,” Seiji Osumi, an adviser at Tokyo’s Institute of Cetacean Research, said at a news conference televised Sunday.

The second set of fins — much smaller than the dolphin’s front fins — are about the size of human hands and protrude from near the tail on the dolphin’s underside. The dolphin measures 8.92 feet and is about five years old, according to the museum.

Despite their big brains, scientists aren’t convinced that dolphins are as intelligent as they get credit for. Their large brains may be due to the fact that they are warm-blooded animals living in water.

Here’s a segment from The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror XI” in which dolphins take over the world.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

1 Response to “Dolphins once walked on land!”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Clarimonde says:

    That dolphin is still hotter than Paris Hilton!