Scientists in Egypt identify fossil of prehistoric 4-legged whale

Fossils of a newly identified prehistoric whale species.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

A fossil discovered 13 years ago in Egypt's Western Desert has been identified as a prehistoric whale believed to have roamed 43 million years ago that had four legs and could live both on land and sea.

Paleontologist Hesham Sallam, a professor at Mansoura University in Egypt, told The Associated Press earlier this week that environmentalists stumbled upon the fossil in an area that during prehistoric times was underwater. Researchers didn't start examining the fossil until 2017, and they published their findings for the first time last month in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The fossil whale has been named Phiomicetus Anubis, after the ancient Egyptian god of death, and had an elongated skull and snout. "We chose the name Anubis because it had a strong and deadly bite," Sallam told AP. "It could kill any creature it crossed paths with."

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