Subject: Evolution of whales

Lori Mazzuca (
Thu, 8 May 1997 17:00:17 -1000 (HST)

Dear Earl,
	Thank you for inquiring about the skeletal evolution of whales.  I
am afraid that I know very little about the evolution and literature I
have read varies!  However, the common theme notes the important
trend of presence of hind limbs in the early fossil members.  The only
known fossil remains which have been found in the Himalyan region of
Pakistan and India, as well as in Egypt and Nigeria, suggest that most
Protocetidae were small-bodied animals less than 3m (10 feet) long. 
	My suggestion to you, since I don't know who to refer you to, is
to subscribe to  Marmam and/or Mammal-l (these are listservers
specializing in mammals/marine mammals) and ask you question via that
avenue. (marmam editors:  marmamed@UVic.CA)  I no longer belong to
	Good luck!

On Thu, 8 May 1997, Dale wrote:

> I have been researchimg the placement of the mammary system in relation
> to mammals in two groups. A: a group with mammary on the chest ie,
> bears, elephants, humans, apes, ect. This group also has a forward
> bending knee. B: This group has a mammary system near the rear of the
> mammal ie, cows, horses, sheep, ect. and a backward bending knee. Can
> you tell me in what direction the knee of a whale articulated when they
> had
> one? I am aware of the placement of the whale mammary system. Therefor I
> would expect to find the rudimentary leg system at the rear of the whale
> to somewhat resemble those of group B.I am told that all mammals rear
> legs bend the same. That what was thought to be a knee is actually an
> ankle and the animals evolved to walk on their tiptoes. I'm not totaly
> convinced? I hope you have the time and-or curiosity to help me
> understand why these mammals would evolve in such a manner.
>                                             Thank You for your help.
>                                             Earl Wood