A Walking Whale: An all Arab Team’s First Fossil Discovery

An all Egyptian team of paleontologists from Mansoura University have made an astounding discovery after a decade of research, with an announcement of their discovery of a semi-aquatic whale species that lived 43 million years ago. The new species was named Phiomicetus Anubis, in memory of the ancient Egyptian god of death.

An imagined sketch of Phiomicetus Anubis

Via National News

The whale is from a group of prehistoric marine animals called protocetids, a species unique because it is both terrestrial and aquatic. Moreover, Phiomicetus Anubis marks the evolutionary shift of a whale from a walking herbivore animal to an aquatic animal. Research shows that the whale was about three meters in length, and weighed approximately 600 kg. It was named after the Egyptian god of death because the whale was an exceptional hunter and in killing its prey.

The anatomical layout of Phiomicetus Anubis

Via National News

The team included Dr. Hisham Salam, a Professor of Excavations at Mansoura University, along with his graduate student Abdullah Gohar, and the excavation was supervised by the Ministry of Environment.

It was a successful, active predator. I think it was the god of death for most animals that lived alongside it.

Mr. Gohar, the study’s lead author, told Live Science.

The remains of the whale were first discovered in 2008 in Wadi Al-Hitan, Fayoum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where other pre-historic whale species were unearthed as well, including some of the world’s earliest whale species.

The team: Mohamed Sameh Antar, Abdullah Gohar, and Hisham Salam

Via National News

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