Subject: Why did whales return to the water?

Cara M. Gubbins (cara@scs.unr.edu)
Wed, 22 Apr 1998 17:34:16 -0700 (PDT)

Arlene,
We are talking about evolutionary time scale here, millions of years.
Basically, new species evolve when they are able to exploit resources that
no other species is exploiting. So, terrestrial animals evolved from
lobe-finned fish who were somewhat able to walk due to the unique anatomy 
of their fins. Much later, mammals evolved (on land). Ancient mammals
that lived close to coastal waters were able to hunt in shallow waters and
gradually adapted live entirely in the water, eventually becoming modern
marine mammals. This process took millions of years.
Hope this answers your question,
Cara


On Wed, 22 Apr 1998, Nviromom wrote:

> If vertebrates evolved from fish, how come whales went back to the water.
> This question came to mind when I noticed that whale flippers have the same
> bone structure as human hands.  Arlene
>