Whales are indeed one of the most beautiful sea creatures on the planet. They might not be friendly like the dolphins, but their presence can always amaze people. With their vast size, you can see them even from afar. People who go through cruises and boat expeditions often see them waving with their fins and splashing through the waters.
They say that when whales do this, they want to greet the people around the sea. Isn't that touching? Well, more with that fact, whales are prevalent because of their uniqueness. But, do you know where they came from? Believe it or not, whales do have their ancestors like humans!
If you haven't thought about this fact yet, it's time to know who the whale ancestors are or what their ancestry is all about. So, the next time you go and visit ocean parks, you'll know exactly where this animal came from. Let's find out all the details here below.
The Whale Ancestry
First thing first, you might be curious who the whale ancestors are, aren't you? Indeed, some people believed that whales came with their kind of species. But apparently, they are not. If you think of it, hippos are the closest living relative of whales, but they are not the actual ancestors of whales. Are you surprised by that fact? Well, there are more things you need to know.
History says that no individual animals on Earth have a direct ancestor of any other. That's what everyone else knows. That's the reason why each animal has their branch on the family tree. In whales and hippos, there are specific reasons why they tend to be alike among all other sea animals.
Whales & Hippos
As mentioned, Hippos are the closest relatives of whales. These species evolved from even-toed, four-legged, ungulates ancestors that resided on the land way back 50 million years ago. So there comes the conclusion that Hippos are aquatic and large like whales. Still, they evolved those features separately from each other.
On the other hand, Ungulates species are giraffe, deer, pig, hippopotamus, and cow. Contrary to the hippo ancestors, the whale ancestors developed and moved to the sea as swimming creatures nearly 8 million years ago.
The First Whales of The World
Odd as it may look, the first whale named Pakicetus was a land animal. Their features come with large carnivorous teeth and long skulls if someone's going their physique. Eventually, they will never look like the whales that we know now. They don't look like any whale at all cost. Thus, Pakicetus skulls, in particular in the ear part, are enclosed by a bony wall.
This part resembles the living whales and is very different from any other mammal on the planet. Also, studies were saying that the minor features of such creatures give proof to connect animals that are highly specialized for their way of life with their less utmost looking relatives.
In that sense, the Pakicetus indeed resembles the whales that we have now. Maybe, not on the outside features itself but its entire lifestyle.
Another whale ancestor from the whale ancestry comes with Ambulocetus. If you ever dreamed or thought about what whales would look like if they could walk, you would rather talk with this kind of species. Because apparently, it is best known to be a walking whale.
This type of species looks like it has lived more than any sea creature in its aquatic lifestyle. If you have imagined the first T-rex, probably the Ambulocetus have seen them. Its appearance is certainly far from the whales we have now, with its shorter legs and hands with their feet enlarged like paddles. So, could it be Perry the Platypus? Probably this is his super great grandfather or a far relative ancestor.
What's more, its tail is quite muscular and longer too than the other creatures. The conclusion with Ambulocetus is that its remains, or fossils, were recovered from deposits. This comprises an ancient estuary and from the isotopes of oxygen covering within its bones.
For instance, you may have known that animals drink and eat, and freshwater and saltwater have various ratio types of oxygen isotopes. Therefore, one can undoubtedly learn and discover what kind of water an animal drinks through experimenting with the isotopes that comprise its teeth and bone as it develops.
With these facts gathered, the result showed that this species drank freshwater and saltwater, which perfectly fits the thought that Ambulocetus have lived in bays or estuaries between the open ocean and freshwater. In truth, whales that have grown after Ambulocetus have potentially shown higher points of saltwater oxygen isotopes.
That means they have lived near marine habitats and could drink salt water as much as today's whales can. With that, these sea creatures developed their nostrils placed continuously along with their snout. Now, this phenomenon has remained into our today's whales. You can see their "blowholes" or their nostrils on top of their head above their eyes.
Uncovering the Whale Ancestry Mystery
There are still many different factors and beliefs about where whales come from or the real whale ancestry tree. But of course, the only one that can prove it all along is Science. With many studies created and many facts gathered, it is no wonder that these huge creatures existed a long time ago.
Thus, the surprising fact comes with the thought that "whales do have their own small hands before." Well, what could go with that? Besides, we, humans, have believed to come from monkeys and evolved through whatever we are today. The only difference between whales and humans is the capacity and ability to survive in the wilds.
Still, for whatever reason, it is fascinating to know that the cute whales that we know today are not that adorable way back in the old times. But at the same time, it is incredible how things change and how whales grow in today's period.
Then again, you still need to know a lot more about whales. It's not only because they are cute, but they also symbolize a strong meaning, especially when you see them in your dreams. Nonetheless, these are only some general information that you can know about the whale ancestry and whale ancestors. And we do hope you learn something from it!
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