Feb 19, 2009

Link to whale evolution from land to sea was found in Pakistan

I was watching Morphed on National Geographic TV this evening. It's a 3 part series about evolution, strategically timed with Darwin's 200th birthday anniversary. I wasn't shocked to learn that whales evolved from land animals, given that they breathe air and are warm blooded mammals. But I was certainly surprised to learn that the missing links between whales and their land ancestors were found in Pakistan in the 80's, by a University of Michigan Paleontologist, Philip D. Gingerich. That animal is actually called a Pakicetus, believe it or not, named after the country itself. Pretty cool. This is what they were supposed to look like...

Anyway, Dr. Gingerich has visited Pakistan quite often over the past few years, collaborating with research faculty and publishing papers with them. His website has some pictures and details about their excursions in Pakistan. Plus, who doesn't like hearing about their country in a good light, especially one linked with a scientific breakthrough.