Let’s start with a picture and a little game: the animal below is the ancient ancestor of some of the planet’s most remarkable creatures. Take a guess which ones…

Image: Illustration of Ambulocetus natans, a fur covered creature the size of a sea lion that was an ancestor of the modern whale

Source: Wikimedia

This is the Ambulocetus natans. Contrary to their furry, less than aquatic looking exterior, they are the ancient cousins of modern whales. How did whales go from hairy animals that ruled river deltas, to the remarkable creatures we know and love today?

Luckily, you don’t have to hear a clunky explanation of whale evolution from me! Today, we are sharing a video from one of our new favorite YouTube Channels in the PBS Digital Studios family, PBS Eons. They are a phenomenal resource for all things prehistoric (and one of my favorite YouTube Channels to watch in my spare time).

Without further delay, let’s meet the Ambulocetus natans

Via: PBS Eons 1
We’ve paired this video with thought-provoking discussion questions perfect for the classroom in this touchstone on our education platform, EWCed!

Evolution works in remarkable ways!

In such a short time in evolutionary history, whale ancestors went from tiny deer-like creatures to enormous masters of the sea. This turn of evolution shows the fascinating ways that natural selection has filled every available niche for life on this planet. Also, how competition for the precious resources that a species thrives on, and how environmental shifts force life to “find a way”.

Dive in a Little Deeper…

Additionally, If you want to learn more about how modern-day whales live and thrive, and the critical role they (and their poop) plays in our planet ecosystems, we suggest you explore the following articles we’ve written to see more!

8 minutes

Whale Facts, The Lives of Incredible Giants

We thought we knew everything about whales, but It's Okay To Be Smart shows us some incredible whale facts that prove these giants are incredible creatures.

Read More

11 minutes

How Blue Whale Poop Changed This Scientist’s Life

The study Whale Poop may not sound like life changing science, but for this scientist, it not only changed her life, it shifted the way we think about one of the planet's most remarkable species and the ways we study them!

Read More

There you have it! A bit more insight into the lives and history of some of our planet’s most remarkable creatures. These evolutionary stories are a fascinating way to find connection in obscure places on this planet. They serve as a reminder of how interconnected the story of life is on Earth.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


Want to discover more of the amazing animals that share this planet with us?

Then you’re in the right place. Just click the button below to explore…

Animals on EWC

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  1. “When Whales Walked.” YouTube, PBS Eons, 23 Oct. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OSRKtT_9vw.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV