A team of researchers, led by Egyptian scientists, has discovered the fossil of a new species of semi-aquatic whale that inhabited Egypt more than 43 million years ago.
This discovery was described in a study published Wednesday by the prestigious journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society”.
The species, named “Phiomicetus anubis” because of its skull resemblance to that of the jackal-headed Egyptian deity Anubis, walked on land, swam in water and had powerful jaws that allowed it to swallow easily. prey, such as crocodiles and small mammals.
The Protocetidae (Editor’s note: four-legged whale) could weigh up to 600 kilograms and measured at least three meters.
Paleontologists discovered the remains of ‘Phiomicetus anubis’ in 2008, during an expedition to the Fayum Depression in Egypt – an area famous for fossils of marine life dating from the Eocene (56 to 33.9 million d ‘years).
By analyzing the remains of the whale – pieces of its skull, jaws, teeth, vertebrae and ribs – scientists realized that the Phiomicetus anubis is the oldest (or most “primitive ») African whale.