The Spin Cycle

Dolphin Evolution

Science | February 24, 2009

I remember taking biology at high school but all I can consciously remember about it was the view of the school yard out the window. That's not to say the classes were dull, I had a great teacher. I think the whole idea behind biology just didn't fascinate me very much at time. No doubt my mind was elsewhere.

Biology stirred up in me recently when I started thinking about dolphins (as you do). I knew that they are supposed to be highly intelligent, possibly more so than us. I also knew that they are mammals...

So, I've got a general idea of what a mammal consists of but I wasn't quite sure how that idea ends up as a creature swimming in the ocean.

If Wikipedia is good for something I knew it would be up for this one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_cetaceans

As it turns out, the ancestors of dolphins spent a fair bit of time on land. So much so they had legs and pretty much looked like an over grown rat (illustrated above).

It's pretty amazing to think we and dolphins were one when we came out the oceanic ooze on to dry land. They hung around for a while but liked the wet stuff so much they just had to go back!

I think that's pretty damn cool.


Comments

1. elizabeth on March 29, 2010

the picture is ugly

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