Peregocetus

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Peregocetus
Temporal range: Middle Eocene
~42.6 Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: Cetacea
Family: Protocetidae
Subfamily: Protocetinae
Genus: Peregocetus
Lambert et al., 2019
Species
  • P. pacificus Lambert et al., 2019 (type)

Peregocetus is a genus of early whale that lived in what is now Peru during the Middle Eocene epoch.[1][2] Its fossil was uncovered in 2011 in the Yumaque Formation of the Pisco Basin at Playa Media Luna by a team consisting of members from Peru, France, Italy, and the Netherlands.[3][4] Parts recovered include the jaw, front and hind legs, bits of spine, and tail. Olivier Lambert, a scientist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and lead author of the study, noted that Peregocetus "fills in a crucial [knowledge] gap" about the evolution of whales and their spread.[3]

Peregocetus is the first recorded quadrupedal whale from the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Hemisphere. The discovery reveals that protocetids reached the Pacific Ocean and attained a near circumequatorial distribution while retaining functional weight-bearing limbs.[1]

Description[edit]

Peregocetus was essentially a four-legged whale: however, it had webbed feet with small hooves on the tips of its toes, making it more capable of moving on land than modern seals. It featured sharp teeth and a long snout which suggests it fed on fish and/or crustaceans.[3][4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lambert, Olivier; Bianucci, Giovanni; Salas-Gismondi, Rodolfo; Di Celma, Claudio; Steurbaut, Etienne; Urbina, Mario; de Muizon, Christian (4 April 2019). "An amphibious whale from the Middle Eocene of Peru reveals early South Pacific dispersal of quadrupedal cetaceans". Current Biology. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2019.02.050.
  2. ^ Wright, Pam (5 April 2019). "Fossilized Remains of Ancient 4-Legged Whale Discovered in Peru". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Devlin, Hannah (4 April 2019). "Fossil of ancient four-legged whale with hooves discovered". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Unknown Species of Ancient Four-Legged Whale Uncovered in Peru". Gizmodo. 4 April 2019.