This is an illustration of Basilosaurus, a fossil
whale discovered in
Egypt by Phil Gingerich and colleagues. Gingerich is the guy
who taught me everything I
know knew about collecting fossils.
I wanted on the team that went to Egypt, though. I had other
priorities, like medical school. Can’t do everything.
Anyway, here is an illustration of the critter:
Yes, those are legs on that whale. The successful excavation
of the 16-meter (50-foot) specimen is noted at href="http://www.nature-spot.com/2008/11/u-m-team-recovers-ancient-whale-in.html">Amazing
Obviously, Basilosaurus is a poster fossil for
evolutionists. The historical significance is discussed at href="http://scienceblogs.com/laelaps/2007/12/shaking_the_cetacean_evolution.php">Laelaps;
the genetic basis for the limbs is discussed at href="http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/05/no_genes_were_lost_in_the_maki.php">Pharygula.
Actually, the discovery is not new. They found it back in the
1980’s. But it was fully excavated this year. The
plan is to prepare it for exhibition. The preparation will be
done at the University of Michigan, but it will be exhibited in Egypt
(which is only fair; it belongs to them). Gingrich would like
to make a complete cast for exhibition at the href="http://www.lsa.umich.edu/ExhibitMuseum">UM Exhibit
Museum of Natural History in Ann Arbor, but the article does
not say whether that actually will happen.
I hope it does. I still remember going to that museum when I
was four years old. Made quite an impression. A
50-foot skeleton (or cast) would be great, although I don’t know where
they would put it.