DNA suggests whales descended from land mammals

If you were asked what kinds of animals a whale most resembles, what would you say? Fishes? Sharks? Manatees? Perhaps even seals and sea lions? Whales live their whole lives in the water, and have a host of anatomical and physiological features that make them feel right at home there. So if DNA encodes these …

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Molecular phylogenetics: Using DNA to determine your ultimate paternity

After the discovery of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), scientists began to learn that this molecule was largely responsible for how organisms look and function and that DNA is passed from parents to offspring. Together, these discoveries explained why we look so similar to our parents, why we tend to look more similar to our siblings than …

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Whales walked in India and Pakistan before swimming around the world

The fossil record, DNA and developmental biology all suggest that aquatic whales descended from ancestors that walked on land. The geographical distribution of some putative proto-whale fossils also seems to hint at this significant transition. The proto-whale fossils that were almost completely land-dwelling, but likely spent at least some time in the water, include Indohyus …

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