A pair of swimming Ambulocetus

Ambulocetus

Although Ambulocetus looked like a furry crocodile or a giant otter, it was actually an early whale. Its back legs in particular seemed to be used for propulsion, and its feet had long, probably webbed toes (each ending in a tiny hooflet). Ambulocetus was not as agile in the water as an otter and seems to be adapted for ambushing large prey which it then drowned. Its skull shows adaptations for holding large, struggling prey underwater. Its ear bones also show that it did not have external ears but instead used the same method of hearing as modern whales - picking up vibrations through the jawbone. One fairly complete specimen and several partial skeletons have been found in Pakistan.

Scientific name: Ambulocetus

Rank: Genus

Common names:

walking whale

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Behaviours

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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

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Eocene epoch Eocene epoch
The Eocene began as a time of global warming, with temperatures across the planet soaring. Forests thrived and trees grew even in polar regions.