What are marine mammals' closest land relatives?

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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What are marine mammals' closest land relatives?
« on: 12/09/2008 16:12:06 »
Life began in the sea (sort of), then migrated onto the land. Some mammals got fed up with that (maybe they got sore feet) and went back to the sea to evolve into cetaceans, seals, etc.

What are the closest land-living relatives to those aquatic mammals?
« Last Edit: 12/09/2008 16:51:13 by DoctorBeaver »
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blakestyger

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What are marine mammals' closest land relatives?
« Reply #1 on: 12/09/2008 17:46:54 »
A Hippo'-like animal is the favourite candidate - I was told.

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Offline Evie

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What are marine mammals' closest land relatives?
« Reply #2 on: 12/09/2008 18:48:32 »
I'm not sure what living animal is most closely related, but here's what may be the extinct missing link...

Article from December 2007:

Quote
What might be the missing evolutionary link between whales and land animals is an odd animal that looks like a long-tailed deer without antlers or an overgrown long-legged rat, fossils indicate.

The creature is called Indohyus, and recently unearthed fossils reveal some crucial evolutionary similarities between it and water-dwelling cetaceans, such as whales, dolphins and porpoises.

He [Thewissen] said it most resembles the current African mousedeer, which has a rat-like nose and "when danger approaches, it jumps in the water and hides."

India and Pakistan were the general region where early whales lived. That matches with the Indohyus, but not the early African hippos, Thewissen said.

While modern-day cetaceans are known to be smart, early whales and Indohyus had small brains, the researcher said.

Other scientists were intrigued, but far from convinced, especially since the case for hippos has looked good, they said.




http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317527,00.html?sPage=fnc/scitech/evolution

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« Last Edit: 12/09/2008 18:52:55 by Evie »
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"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Hamlet
Act I, scene 5

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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What are marine mammals' closest land relatives?
« Reply #3 on: 14/09/2008 12:14:04 »
Blake & Evie - Thank you both.

I did wonder about hippos

That Indohyus reminds me of Mr Burns from The Simpsons!
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