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40-Million-Year-Old 'Walking Whale' Fossil Found In Peru 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-long-time-ago dept.
minty3 writes "Found in the Ocucaje Desert in southern Peru, the fossils belong to a group called Achaeocetes, or ancient whales, that possess both land and sea-dwelling characteristics. Over time, the ancient land animals adapted to water environments where their legs became fin-like and their bodies began to resemble modern sea mammals like dolphins and whales."
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40-Million-Year-Old 'Walking Whale' Fossil Found In Peru

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  • by rufty_tufty (888596) on Friday September 20, 2013 @05:40AM (#44900687) Homepage

    They lost their spine and hind legs 5 million years later

    I can see why slashdotters don't read the article if the article claims things like whales are invertebrates ;-)

  • by marcello_dl (667940) on Friday September 20, 2013 @05:42AM (#44900695) Homepage Journal

    Whales could walk and serpents could talk. No problems whatsoever.

    • by 2fuf (993808)

      Hmm, I still prefer money and bullshit

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday September 20, 2013 @05:52AM (#44900731)

    40-Million-Year-Old 'Walking Whale' Fossil Found In Peru

    I was wondering what had happened to Cowboy Neil. Glad they found him again.

  • That's Archaeocetes! (Score:5, Informative)

    by palemantle (1007299) on Friday September 20, 2013 @05:56AM (#44900749)
    Archaeocetes = ancient whales. Achaeocetes = typo. Is a basic spell check too much to ask?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think rather than use a spell checker, we should just define 'Achaeocetes' as a new word.

    • by loufoque (1400831) on Friday September 20, 2013 @06:20AM (#44900845)

      How many people have Latin spell-checking installed?

      • Fair enough. That said, I didn't mean a spell-check tool. I don't use those either. I meant a re-read of the contents before posting. In this case, that wouldn't have helped either as the article has gotten the name wrong too.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aBaldrich (1692238)
        A classicla latin spell checker would say it's a typo, because this is a new word invented by biologists.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's misspelled in the article as well as in the summary, so I guess we know that a) at least the submitter can copy and paste accurately, and b) the International Business Times is probably not the best place for accurate science reporting.

      • by jbo5112 (154963)

        So you're telling me there is a chance they might be wrong when they say prehistoric animals lost their spine when evolving into whales, and that I shouldn't necessarily trust them?

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      It's not a typo, it's a potentially beneficial syntactic mutation.

  • Huge teeth (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 20, 2013 @06:05AM (#44900789)

    Those teeth suggest that the old whales weren't exactly the "peaceful giants of the sea".

    • Now they're just hipsters of the sea, living on a shellfish only diet, spending their entire income on in-app purchases for the latest freemium games. Damn those hipsters whales, ruining gaming for the rest of us....
    • Re:Huge teeth (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gavagai80 (1275204) on Friday September 20, 2013 @06:13AM (#44900823) Homepage
      Nor are modern whales. Some even eat other species of whales.
      • Citation please. Why? Let's see. I'm at work posting on /. so I've already spent too much time on the internet. I'm not sure I know the correct search terms. It's just too cool to know that I can use the links to gross out my 13 year old who thinks they are just the cutest little things. TIA
        • by Anonymous Coward

          You mean cetacean please. The cetacean he's mentioning is the killer whale. All whales are carnivorous. Other toothed whales eat fish. Baleen whales eat krill and other small marine animals, but they no doubt get a little green in their diet too.

          • Despite their informal name, "killer whales" are actually dolphins (google it), so they're not "whales eating other whales". They would be "cetaceans eating other cetaceans" though. I don't think any other cetaceans try to eat whales, though there are other toothed whales that can eat other small sea creatures.

            • by T.E.D. (34228)

              "Cetacean" does not mean or imply "Dolphin". Sperm Whales, (for example, the whale in Moby Dick [wikipedia.org]) are also Ceateans [wikipedia.org].

              I don't really mind someone like the GP getting a smidge sloppy with terminology in the interests of brevity, clarity, or wit. What I do mind is someone leaping all over them over a technicality, when they in fact don't have their details down right either.

    • Dolphins, Orca's and Sperm whales have teeth too.

    • by mrdogi (82975)
      Similarly, that doesn't look like a 'baleen' whale [wikipedia.org], either. More like a toothed whale.
  • WhaleMart (Score:5, Funny)

    by bickerdyke (670000) on Friday September 20, 2013 @06:42AM (#44900911)

    Aren't walking whales quite common at places like Walmart?

  • Satan put those so-called fossils there to confuse us and test our faith. Every intelligent being alive knows the world is only about 6000 years old.

    • I like this "Satan" guy. Anagram: Santa, who also stashes stuff to test kids faith in their parents... I bet Satan's fun as hell at parties. Now that you mention it, he probably came up with the lampshade trick too.

      • by cellocgw (617879)

        I bet Satan's fun as hell at parties. Now that you mention it, he probably came up with the lampshade trick too.

        Well, if you'd please allow him to introduce himself, you'd find he's a man of wealth and taste!

    • by Monsuco (998964)

      Satan put those so-called fossils there to confuse us and test our faith. Every intelligent being alive knows the world is only about 6000 years old.

      Strangely, I'm not sure where this whole "6000" years thing comes from. There's no actual Biblical claim about the Earth's age yet a lot of Christians believe the Earth is just a few thousand years old. Most don't, but some do.

      • Unfortunately, It comes from the frequent recitations of lineage (and ages) in the Bible. Starting from Jesus, you can walk backwards (with some assumptions, I believe) back to Adam. Filling in maximum ages (upper bound is Methuselah at 969) when they are not provided, gives a Biblically-derived age of the Earth of something around 6000 years. If you believe in a completely literal reading of the Bible, in contrast to the physical evidence, then that is what you might espouse.

        For example:

        (21) And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: (22) And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and Enoch begat sons and daughters: (23) And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: (24) And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him. (25) And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech: (26) And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: (27) And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died. (KJV)

  • Dodgy Source (Score:4, Informative)

    by ozbon (99708) on Friday September 20, 2013 @07:23AM (#44901079) Homepage
    It's probably worth pointing out that the original story is an interview in the Daily Mail ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2423358/Walking-whale-fossil-dating-40M-YEARS-discovered-Peru.html )

    That makes it about as trustworthy and reliable as stories on Fox News
  • Self playing video with sound + Pop-up = CRAP SITE never to be visited again.

    • And also a crap browser setup never to be used again.

      • Tis better to link viewership, or lack thereof, to their choice in advertising than make the problem worse with adblock, fool.
        • I don't recommend AdBlock, I recommend NoScript and FlashBlock. You can have a good browser setup that doesn't discriminate against all ads.

          • All NoScript does is force the user to bypass it or tweak it all the time, thereby causing more annoyance than it prevents. Uninstalled it eons ago, upon realizing that it only gives a pretense of safety.

  • ... and two new gaps created!

    Doh.

  • by Sam36 (1065410)
    Sadly, this 'whale' in the pictures isn't depicted as having any kind of feet.
    That is just one problem I have with evolution and science in general. They show me a piece of a bone, tell me all about how it is a transitional fossil, then draw a pretty picture to fill in the missing parts and call it 'evidence'.
    There is another word for that, it is called 'comic books'.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      +1 The skull looks more like a crocodile than some acient whale transitioning to how they look now. This scientists are nuts, they are so sofocated to find evidence of evolution that they are parcticing science fiction.

    • by cusco (717999)

      I take it you haven't spent much time looking at bones beyond the one in your pork chop. There's actually a **LOT** of information there if you know what you're looking at. Take three upper leg front bones, one from a white tailed deer, another from a pronghorn antelope, and the third from a bighorn sheep. Three similar North American animals, you probably wouldn't be able to guess which went to which. A biologist on the other hand would be able to tell at a glance which was optimized for running, which

      • Almost as important,

        If you were to give the bones to 100 independent biologists, they would come to the same (or very similar) conclusions.

        And the amazing thing is that evolutionary biologists- given an older example of a species and a later example of a species can (and have) predicted what the bones between those two samples would look like and (this was cool for me) where geographically and in what layer of depth the intermediate specimen would be found.

        Independent verification and predictable falsifiabl

        • by kanweg (771128)

          "And the amazing thing is that evolutionary biologists- given an older example of a species and a later example of a species can (and have) predicted what the bones between those two samples would look like and (this was cool for me) where geographically and in what layer of depth the intermediate specimen would be found."

          A great example of that it Tiktaalik:

          http://tiktaalik.uchicago.edu/searching4Tik.html [uchicago.edu]

          Bert

  • Nothing new. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by MaWeiTao (908546)

    The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeoceti [slashdot.org]">Wikipedia entry for this creature seems to paint a different picture than the article wants to present. This article makes it seem like this evolutionary step in whales is a new thing, but it looks like scientists have known about it for a while. The entry even has images of complete skeletons and a nice illustration.

    It's kind of funny to think that animals came out of the water, wandered around a bit and decided they didn't like it so returned to the seas. A

  • Reporter: "...as the East Coast, today, was litterally shaken by the return of Blow-Hole, the long-distance leviathan who, ten years ago, baffled the nation when he jumped out of the Pacific Ocean and ran straight across the country."



    Reporter: "One week later, Blow-hole plunged into the icy waters of the Atlantic, disappearing without comment. Is he planning a return trip? One thing is certain--No one knows."

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