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Maiacetus (National Museum of Natural History)


Maiacetus (Greek for "good mother whale"); pronounced MY-ah-SEE-tuss


Shores of central Asia

Historical Epoch:

Early Eocene (48 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 7 feet long and 600 pounds


Fish and squids

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Medium size; amphibious lifestyle

About Maiacetus:

Discovered in Pakistan in 2004, Maiacetus ("good mother whale") shouldn't be confused with the more famous duck-billed dinosaur Maiasaura. This prehistoric whale earned its name because the fossil of an adult female was found to contain a fossilized embryo, the positioning of which hints that this genus lumbered onto land to give birth. Researchers have also discovered the near-complete fossil of a male Maiacetus adult, the larger size of which is evidence for early sexual dimorphism in whales.
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