When dolphins roamed the earth

A bottlenose dolphin captured last month has an extra set of fins that Japanese researchers believe could be the remains of back legs, providing further evidence that they once lived on land.

    Fossils show dolphins were land animals 50 million years ago

    Fishermen caught the four-finned dolphin off the coast of Wakayama prefecture in Western Japan on October 28 and alerted the nearby Taiji whaling museum to their strange find, according to Katsuki Hayashi, the museum director.

    Fossil remains show that dolphins and whales were four-footed land animals about 50 million years ago and share the same common ancestor as hippos and deer. Scientists believe they later became aquatic mammals and their hind limbs disappeared.

    Though odd-shaped protrusions have been found near the tails of dolphins and whales in the past, researchers thought it was the first time one had been found with well-developed, symmetrical fins, Hayashi said.

    "I believe the fins may be remains from the time when dolphins' ancient ancestors lived on land ... this is an unprecedented discovery," Seiji Osumi, an adviser at Tokyo's Institute of Cetacean Research, said on Sunday.

    The second set of fins - much smaller than the dolphin's front fins - are about the size of human hands and protrude from near the tail on the underside of the dolphin.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Israel’s settlements: 50 years of land theft explained

    Israel’s settlements: 50 years of land theft explained

    On the anniversary of UN Resolution 242, Al Jazeera explores the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise.

    Robert Mugabe: Portrait of a presidency

    Robert Mugabe: Portrait of a presidency

    Some key moments in the life of the man who led his country from independence in 1980 until November 21, 2017.

    When is Thanksgiving Day and why is it celebrated?

    When is Thanksgiving Day and why is it celebrated?

    In the US, Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated on Thursday, November 23.