Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Discovery in Seal Evolution

photo by Alex Tirabasso/Canadian Museum of Natural History

A newly describe fossil from the arctic sheds new light on seal evolution. The fossilized remains of Pujilla darwini indicate the animal walked on land,and had webbed feet, but not flippers. The early seal is estimated to be 23 million years old, and is the oldest fossil found yet of seal ancestors.

The species name honors Charles Darwin who predicted that marine mammals would be found to have evolved from land animals. It also appears that this early seal ancestor lived in fresh water, which is something Darwin had also predicted.

Read more about this discovery here

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