Rodhocetus balochistanensis, an early whale

Rodhocetus balochistanensis was an early whale that lived during the early Lutetian, around 47 million years ago, in what is now the Balochistan Province, Pakistan. It was first described in 2001 by a team of scientists led by Philip D. Gingerich. Rodhocetus was approximately 2.5 meters (6.5 feet) long, with a body weight of about 450 kg (990 lbs).

R. balochistanensis is known from a reasonably complete fossil remains, including a part of the skull, the vertebrae, the pelvis, and the limbs. As such, it represents an important species for the studies of the evolution of the first whales. Although clearly a member of the whale evolutionary lineage, Rodhocetus differed considerably from what today’s members of this successful group of aquatic mammals look like. It had long limbs and a relatively massive skull with triangular teeth.

Featured image by Pavel Říha. CC BY-SA 3.0.

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