Whales Once Walked Along the Coasts of North America … Wait, What?

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A tooth found nearly fifty years ago has recently been re-examined and found to contain the remains of a land-going whale from an extinct family found only in Pakistan.

A cousin of other walking whales in the family of Remingtonocetidae, it’s the first discovery of this ancient animal in North America, and gives a tantalizing prospect of a potential distribution of these creatures across the entire world.

It’s strange to think that as mega as so many of the dinosaurs became, the largest example of the advantages of enormity to a complex life form is alive with us today in the form of the blue whale.

Yet the whale lineage had to take many twists and turns before it arrived at a blowhole and flippers, which because of its mammalian origin, also involved feet and a long, almost crocodilian snout.

In 1973, a premolar of a new species of walking whale was found at a stone quarry in Castle Hayne, North Carolina.

In 2020, a team of researchers found it matched more closely the fossils found in Pakistan of Remingtonocetidae and not other extinct whale genera that were known to live along the coast of what would become North America.

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