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, 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, and contrary to their furry, less than aquatic looking exterior, they are the ancient cousins of modern whales. So, how did whales go from hairy animals that ruled river deltas to the enormous and 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 with you 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).

Via: PBS Eons 1

Evolution works in remarkable ways!

In such a short time in evolutionary history, whale ancestors went from tiny deer-like creatures to the enormous masters of the sea we know today. This turn of evolution speaks to the fascinating ways that natural selection has filled every available niche for life on this planet; 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…

If you want to learn more about the ways modern-day whales live and thrive, and the critical role they (and their poop) plays in our planet ecosystems, we suggest you check out 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

So, 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 the most obscure places on this planet, and a reminder of how interconnected the story of life is on Earth.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

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

Oh, and make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss our next article!

Notes:

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

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yoga lover. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV