Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Puijila darwini

Though it may not look like it, the animal in that picture-reconstruction is an ancestral Seal! Yes, Seal! The finned, sleek bodied ocean mammals! In fact, it is the most ancient Seal ever found.

Puijila darwini was only discovered in 2007, so it is a pretty recent find. Amazingly, only one fossil has been uncovered so far-- but the skeleton was almost totally complete! It was found in Nunavut, Canada.

Puijila lived a semi-aquatic carnivorous lifestyle. It had webbing on all four feet, and swam by paddling through the water. It is an interesting fossils not just because it is the most primitive Seal known, but also because it is an example of a transitional species. All land animals evolved from sea-dwelling creatures, and Seals and Whales are examples of mammals that returned to the sea. Puijila was a step between fully land-dwelling Carnivore and the eventual ocean-dwelling Pinnepeds.

Status : Extinct, lived 21-24 million years ago
Location : Canada
Size : Length up to 3.3ft (1m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Suborder : Pinnipedimorpha -- Genus : Puijila -- Species : P. darwini
Image : Smokeybjb

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