A research team led by Egyptian scientists succeeded in recording a new discovery of the genus and species of the ancestors of amphibian whales, which roamed Egyptian waters about 43 million years ago.
The Egyptian team documented its new discovery in a research paper published in the prestigious Proceedings B journal of the Royal Society of Biological Sciences.
The new study represents an unprecedented achievement for Arab paleontologists, as it is the first time that an Arab-Egyptian team has documented a new species and species of whales, after this science remained the preserve of foreign scientists for a long period of time, despite the richness of the Egyptian natural heritage with its important fossils.
Scientists named the new Egyptian whale the “Phiomicetu” after the Fayoum Oasis (the place from which its fossils were extracted), while the species was named after an ancient Pharaonic god “Anubis” to give the ancient Egyptian character to this scientific name, so that the full name became “Phiomicetu Anubis”.
According to the new study, Phiomicetus lived when a vast area of Egyptian land was covered by a sea, the ancient Mediterranean, where marine creatures including the ancestors of whales lived.
The researchers said that the discovered Egyptian whale, with a length of about 3 meters, weighing about 600 kilograms, was a living amphibian, as it was able to walk on land and swim in the sea, and it was distinguished by strong smell and hearing abilities, such as those possessed by mammals that live on land.
Fossils of the whale that could walk on land were excavated in 2008 by a team of Egyptian Ministry of Environment specialists led by Dr. Mohamed Sameh, Director General of the Central District Reserve, then Egyptian specialists studied them with the Mansoura University Center for Vertebrate Fossils team led by Dr. Hisham Salam, according to the cooperation protocol between the two institutions.