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RDF TV - Show me the intermediate fossils! - Nebraska

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The Richard Dawkins Foundation For Reason and Science Show me the intermediate fossils! People often say: Where are the intermediate fossils? Show us your intermediate fossils. There are plenty intermediate fossils and one of the best examples is whales. The modern whales are up there. Here is a serie of fossils, back in time: Dorudon, about 36 millions years ago, Rodhocetus, about 47.5 million years, Pakicetus, about 48.5 million years. You can see that they form a lovely series of intermediates as you go from old to young, Pakicetus, Rodhocetus, gradually losing the hind legs, to Dorudon, which almost lost the hind legs completely. Modern whales that completely lost the hind legs. There are some vestigial bones, remnant bones buried deep inside the body. A lovely series of intermediates getting progressively more and more specialized in living in the sea. If you look at Pakicetus, which is a old fossil whale, you see that the nostril is just about the way that you'd expect the nostril to be, near the tip of snout. If we move on a million years to Rodhocetus you see that the nostril has move backwards, backwards on the skull, backwards along the snout. Now, if you look at a modern whale, that is a dolphin, a modern dolphin you see that the nostril is right here near the top of the head, that is the blowhole. The nostril has move right backwards Now, a really surprising thing is which animal is the most closest related to modern whales among modern animals, and the answer, astonishingly, is the hippopotamus, which is classified in the even-toad ungulates, the cloven-hoofed animals. So what we now believe is that there was an ancesor, which was a cloven-hoofed animal, before 55 million years ago. A little bit before that, the ancestor get rise to others cloven-hoofed animals. And then later then that, there was a split between the lineage leading to whales and the lineage leading to modern hippopotamus. Is a molecular evidence as well as a fossil evidence that shows that hippos are the most closely related modern animals. Special Thanks to Camera & Music by

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 33 seconds
Country: Brazil
Language: English
Producer: RDF
Director: RDF
Views: 109
Posted by: diegoarcega on Jan 12, 2010

Richard Dawkins shows how whales evolved from a cloven-hoofed ancestor, and reveals whales' closest modern-day cousin.

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