Originally Posted by Nick M
A 2 million year old whale. Now that is
The pygmy right whale, a mysterious and elusive creature that rarely comes to shore, is the last living relative of an ancient group of whales long believed to be extinct, a new study suggests.
The findings, published today (Dec. 18) in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, may help to explain why the enigmatic marine mammals look so different from any other living whale.
The strange creature's arched, frownlike snout makes it look oddly different from other living whales. DNA analysis suggested pygmy right whales diverged from modern baleen whales such as the blue whale and the humpback whale between 17 million and 25 million years ago. However, the pygmy whales' snouts suggested they were more closely related to the family of whales that includes the bowhead whale. Yet there were no studies of fossils showing how the pygmy whale had evolved, Marx said. [In Photos: Tracking Humpback Whales]
You may want to read your bolded quote again in context. There were no *studies* of fossils showing how they evolved. The rest of the story goes on to describe how the scientists conducted such a study.
| To understand how the pygmy whale fit into the lineage of whales, Marx and his colleagues carefully analyzed the skull bones and other fossil fragments from pygmy right whales and several other ancient cetaceans.|
The pygmy whale's skull most closely resembled that of an ancient family of whales called cetotheres that were thought to have gone extinct around 2 million years ago, the researchers found. Cetotheres emerged about 15 million years ago and once occupied oceans across the globe.
Even if there were few or no fossils, it's still clearly a baleen whale, the only question was WHICH other baleen whales is it related to? I'm betting you'd consider them all the same "kind" anyway.
There are plenty of species for which there is no fossil record at all. That doesn't disprove evolution, there's plenty of evidence in DNA. And for many taxa there's lots of nice transitional fossils.
Just like Astupid_one's walking whale. It didn't evolve, it was created. There won't be an evolutionary fossil trail.
Except there are fossil trails for walking whales and even between baleen and toothed whales. Ooops, you didn't know they were related did you? You thought they were all separately created.
Here's a whale with legs and with a blowhole only halfway up the head.
Shown is a toothed baleen whale, Janjucetus
And here's Aetiocetus - a whale with both baleen and teeth.
Fig. 3. (From Démeré et al.) Upper jaw of the Aetiocetus weltoni. fossil. Left: Teeth. Right: Enlargement of section in the rectangle. Arrows show the depressions (sulci) and nutrient holes (foramina) that, in modern baleen whales, allow passage of nerves and arteries to baleen-forming epithelium.
Family tree of whales.