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Found 1 result

  1. I watched a show on PBS last night, "When Whales Walked: Journeys in Deep Time." I just happened to notice it on the guide about 45 minutes before it was on. It is actually about more than the evolution of whales, the group having four-footed Early Eocene ancestors. There is a long segment roughly twenty minutes long each on crocodilians, birds, whales, and elephants. I thought it was a good show overall with interviews of researchers I know from their technical articles ( Hans-Dieter Sues, Philip Gingerich, Emmanel Gheerbrant, Christian de Muizon). However, each segment was also a little light on content for the topic and one was especially unclear. The one on birds made it appear that Deinonychus was an ancestor of later birds. They should have showed a chart showing when it lived in the Cretaceous with Archaeopteryx and the Liaoning birds millions of years before. There was a quick view of a family tree that seemed to illustrate that but it went by in a second or two. The segment on whales showed a lot of footage of modern whales and some great background on the "first whale," Pakicetus, but it didn't show any of the whales described in the past twenty years. It just mentioned that there had been recent discoveries. I thought there should have been at least a quick look at Ambulocetus and a few of the increasingly more marine-adapted forms that lived before Basilosaurus. They pretty much jumped from Pakicetus to Basilosaurus to the divergence of toothed and baleen whales. I think they could have spent the two hours just on the whales just as the title of the show led me to believe. I liked the segment on elephants because just as I was expecting the show to skip the earliest known members of the group, they go to Morocco and then talk to Emmanuel Gheerbrant who described Phosphatherium, the first probiscidean, which is known from the same early Eocene phosphate layer as a lot of the shark teeth we see at shows are from. Other extinct forms were descussed as well. Here's a link that takes to an online notice and website: https://www.pbs.org/show/when-whales-walked-journeys-deep-time/ Jess
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