Ancient four-legged whale species found in Egypt

In what used to be an ancient sea bed, palaeontologists have discovered the fossil of a four-legged whale.

The new species was discovered in rocks in the Fayum Depression in the Western Desert in Egypt; an area once covered by water.

The remains are about 43-million-year-old.

The new species, dubbed Phiomicetus anubis after the Egyptian god of death, was likely a top predator, researchers said after studying the fossil at Mansoura University Vertebrate Palaeontology Centre.

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It was likely semi-aquatic and could move between land and the ocean, a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B concluded.

The species provides an important step in early whale evolution, scientists said.

Phiomicetus anubis was so fearsome it was named after the Egyptian god of death, Anubis.

"Our new paper documents a new ancient amphibious four-legged cetacean from Egypt, which elucidates a transitional phase in early whale evolution," Founder of Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology Centre Hesham Sallam wrote on Twitter.

The whale is believed to have been three-metres long with an estimated body mass of about 600kg.

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