Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar. ~Bradley Millar

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Seal With "Arms" Discovered

A missing link between the seals and the land-based ancestors have been discovered recently! This amazing animal news abuz the word wide web, causing the animal lovers world wide to raise brows. A new study says that the newly discovered prehistoric seal with arms is no longer a missing link between te land creatures with the aquatic ones. According to the researchers, being spurred by "global warming and cooling in the ancient Arctic, the freshwater, amphibious seal is an example of the region as a hotbed of evolution". The discoverer said that, the seal measured around three and a half feet (110 centimeters) long. This 20 to 24-million-year-old "walking seal" had muscular limbs like the land mammals, a long tail, and webbed feet. Unlike the shuffling seals that we usually find these days, the newly discovered species may have walked as gracefully as it swam, said the researchers.

If the seal without the webbed fins looks a bit less than odd, it may be because of its resemblance in look to a modern otter. This finally lead study author Natalia Rybczynski agreed "to some extent, ecologically" could be "a modern analogy for these early pinnipeds."It is now believed that many marine mammals, for instance manatees and whales have roots with the land mammals that originated with Charles Darwin around 150 years ago. But hard evidence for land-to-water evolution in mammals like seals and certain other pinnipeds was in fact lacking until this new discovery - to name, the Piujila Darwin, which is "Darwin's young marine mammal" in an amalgamation of an Inuit language and Latin. In the context, a vertebrate paleontologist Rybczynski asked the Canadian Museum of Nature: "We know that some sort of land-dwelling ancestor existed, but how did we get to the fully marine form?" Rybczynski also added: "There was a morphological gap. So Puijila darwini is an important transition fossil".

The most primitive pinniped fossil skeleton yet found is the Puijila darwini specimen that had been discovered in the year 2007 in an impact crater at Canadian Arctic. According to the researchers, at that time the animals frequented the then temperate rivers and lakes of the Arctic region, and they may have slowly adapted to the under-sea lifestyle, when the lakes had started to freeze during the chill! The seals were deprived of food and their natural habitats! This first evidence of early Arctic pinnipeds runs a long way to prove that the region was a hotbed of pinniped evolution, according to Rybczynski. The Arctic experiences amplified the twists in the climatic condition, which could accellerate up evolution as animals are forced to either adapt theselves with the change or completely disappear.

Also check out discovery of new bird species
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