In A new protocetid whale offers clues to biogeography and feeding ecology in early cetacean evolution, we learn of a species of whale that lived near Egypt 43m years ago and why it earned the name Phiomicetus anubis.
The new species differs from other protocetids in having large, elongated temporal fossae, anteriorly placed pterygoids, elongated parietals, an unfused mandibular symphysis that terminates at the level of P3, and a relatively enlarged I3. Unique features of the skull and mandible suggest a capacity for more efficient oral mechanical processing than the typical protocetid condition, thereby allowing for a strong raptorial feeding style.
Which is to say, it looks like a dog.
Weighing an estimated 600kg and three metres (10ft) in length, the Phiomicetus anubis had strong jaws to catch prey, according to the study published by the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on Wednesday. The whale was able to walk on land and swim in water. … While this is not the first time the fossil of a whale with legs has been found, the Phiomicetus anubis is believed to be the earliest type of semi-aquatic whale to be discovered in Africa.