Facts about Ambulocetus, an extinct prehistoric animal

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Other Prehistoric Animals   >   Ambulocetus



Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Mammalia
  Order Cetacea
  Suborder Archaeoceti
  Family Ambulocetidae
  Subfamily Ambulocetinae
  Genus Ambulocetus
Ambulocetus was a genus of early cetacean (the group containing whales, dolphins and porpoises) that could walk as well as swim. It lived during the early Eocene between about 50 million and 49 million years ago.

Ambulocetus was about 10 feet (3 meters) long, and is known to have been amphibious - its back legs are particularly adapted for swimming. It seems to have been able to live in both salt and freshwater, and it is thought perhaps that it hunted in a similar way to modern crocodiles - hiding in shallow water, and grabbing unsuspected prey when they came to drink.

Ambulocetus includes several adaptations with modern whales. It did not have external ears, and its periotic bones had a similar structure to those of whales, allowing it to hear under water. It also had teeth similar to modern cetaceans, and an adaptation of the nose that allowed it to swallow underwater.

Reconstructed Ambulocetus:
(those bones which have so far been found are shown in red)

Ambulocetus Timeline:

Ambulocetus were early cetaceans that lived between 50 and 49 million years ago

Ambulocetus were early cetaceans that lived between 50 and 49 million years ago

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