Hip Swinging Whale Tale

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Hip swinging whale tale reported in a Society of Vertebrate Paleontology press release 11 Sep 2008 and ScienceDaily 18 Sep 2008. Living whales swim using their powerful fluked tails to propel themselves through the water. There has been much speculation as to how and when the ancestors of whales evolved tail flukes. Palaeontologists have found an almost complete specimen of an extinct creature named Georgiacetus vogtlensis, believed to be an ancestor of whales. Fossils of this creature have been found in the past, but the new specimen had some previously unknown bones in its tail that indicate it did not have tail flukes, like living whales. The creature did have large back feet, and Mark Uhen of Alabama Museum of Natural History, who studied the new fossil, suggests that it used its feet as hydrofoils and used its hips to make undulating movements of the body to propel itself in the water. Uhen said “wiggling hips were a significant step in the evolution of underwater swimming in whales.” He also went on to say: “We know that the earliest whales were four-footed, semi-aquatic animals, and we knew that some later early whales had tail flukes, but we didn’t know exactly when the flukes first arose. Now we do.”

ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Since we wouldn’t call living four-footed semi-aquatic creatures “whales”, why call dead four-footed semi-aquatic creatures “whales”?

We openly admit the logic behind this whale of a tale defies us. So scientists found a fossil of a creature that did not have tail flukes, therefore they know exactly when tail flukes evolved? When it was found this creature was dead and buried, and not swimming anywhere. So how did they know it swam by wiggling its hips, rather than using its large feet to propel itself along? The fact that many fossilised semi-aquatic creatures no longer exist tells us that there was once a greater diversity of semi-aquatic creatures, and many have died out. This is evidence that the world of living organisms is going downhill, rather than evolving upwards. (Ref. Cetaceans, locomotion, mammals)

Evidence News 29 October 2008

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