Thursday, March 27, 2008

What is Indohyus?

A few months ago, it was reported that yet another transitional whale fossil was found. Dubbed "Indohyus", it supposedly represented a missing link between land mammals and whales. I was skeptical at first; as I had gotten the impression that the discovers were proposing a brand new theory about the origin of whales and tossing out the old one. After reading an article about the fossil, I realized I had been wrong. The proposal is simply this: The ancestors of whales were small, deer like animals who began as herbivores and later evolved into meat-eaters. Indohyus is NOT thought to be directly related to whales, it is only a 'cousin' which did not change as much as Pakicetus. Here is an easy way to see it:

Pakicetus (Evolves a lot)
Common Ancestor
Indohyus (Evolves a little)

Click Here for the Scientific American Article.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

Whale evolution IS crazy. I was really skeptical when I first heard about it as well until I read about the supporting evidence. It's definitely an extraordinary claim, but the explanation definitely seems to fit really well.