Odd as it may seem, a four-footed land mammal named Pakicetus,living some 50 million years ago in what we know as Pakistan today, bears the title of “first whale.”
Straddling the two worlds of land and sea, the wolf-sized animal was a meat eater that sometimes ate fish, according to chemical evidence. Pakicetus also exhibited characteristics of its anatomy that link it to modern cetaceans, a group made up of whales, porpoises, and dolphins.
See a resin cast of Pakicetus, based on fossils found in Pakistan, in Whales Giants of the Deep.
Artist’s impression of Pakicetus attocki
© Carl Buell, 2006