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Uploaded on Apr 15, 2009
A "missing link" fossil of a new mammal species from Canada's High Arctic rewrites the evolutionary story of seals. This prehistoric carnivore represents a new branch on a family tree, between an ancestor that walked on land and today's sea-going seals and their relatives. It provides insight into what pinnipeds (true seals, sea lions and the walrus) looked like before they were adapted to hunting in the ocean. It also suggests a different centre of pinniped evolution from that of the prevailing theory. The fossil is 24 to 20 million years old and was found in the Haughton Crater on Devon Island. The research team is led by Dr. Natalia Rybczynski of the Canadian Museum of Nature.