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I had read somewhere that whales and wolves may be evolutionarily related. Is this true?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 4, 2010 at 12:59 AM via web

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I had read somewhere that whales and wolves may be evolutionarily related. Is this true?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 4, 2010 at 1:16 AM (Answer #1)

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Of course whales and wolves are related evolutionarily because they are both mammals.  However, the common ancestry between the two is probably too far back to really say they're related.  (It depends on what you mean by related -- how distant can they be and still be related?)

Perhaps what you are thinking of is that whales are believed to have evolved from creatures that looked something like wolves.  This does not mean that these ancestors of the whales were also ancestors of the wolves.  It just means that they looked like wolves do (this could happen even if they're not related to wolves if the creatures filled the same ecological niche that modern wolves fill).

So, I think the best way to answer your question is to say that whales and wolves are not closely related but that whales did (we think) evolve from an animal that resembled a wolf.

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giorgiana1976 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted January 4, 2010 at 3:22 AM (Answer #2)

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The researchers wrote about the first whale which does not look like with today whales, at all, but rather resembles with an animal which could have been a cross between a dog and a pig. Whales lost limbs and by that,the ability to travel on land, about  40 million years ago.

In parts of India and Pakistan have recently discovered a number of fossils of Indohyus, a strange animal that looked like a deer with an unusually long tail and no horns, or as a giant mouse with very long legs.

Studies conducted at the University College of Medicine from Northeastern, Ohio, demonstrates that marine mammals such as whales and dolphins show evolutionary similarities with Indohyus.

Position and shape of certain molars bring Indohyus closer to the first whale, that lived  50 million years ago.

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jrparks | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 10, 2010 at 4:36 AM (Answer #3)

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I first heard about the possible relationship between these two mammals about 10 years ago.  It is possible, I believe, that they are related.  How closely, I really don't know unless you could analize the genetics and hypothesize.  The facts are that whales and wolves are both mammals.  A whale has the reminants of two hind legs and it is obvious that a wolf possesses this.  But, many other mammals possess this also.  The Orca is one type of whale that has a strong family unit and will hunt in packs for the benefit of the family.  Wolves have this same type of family structure.  Wolves are also omnivores, while whales are too.  Whales eat Phytoplankton and Zooplankton which are the types of animal and plant plankton.  Whales and wolves are both air breathers.  They both give live birth and nurse their young with milk. 

The evidence shows they are somewhat related.  How closely...this is a conclusion that somewhat will have to guess at. 

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