+
Science

Whales used to be land predators? Fascinating video explains how they're related to wolves.

But not all mysteries are solved.

whales evolve from wolves, wolf whale evolution
Photo by Marek Szturc on Unsplash, Photo by Todd Cravens on Unsplash

Did seals get lost in the mix?

I think it’s pretty safe to say that when it comes to evolution, most people typically picture aquatic life forms sprouting legs then coming onto land … not the other way around.

Shockingly enough, a creature almost synonymous with the sea didn’t actually begin that way. And boy, is it a whale of a tale.

A mind-blowing video recently posted by PBS Eons reveals that whales were actually predatory land animals … the same ones that would later become wolves, specifically.

Yep, you read that right. Land animals. With arms and legs and everything.

To explain, we’ll need to go back 52 million years.



Before the warm and rainy Eocene epoch—the same time period that brought us the first horses and bats—whales looked more like the image below.

Something like a mix between a wolf and crocodile, if you ask me.

how wolves became whales, pbs eons youtube, nature vides youtube

You know it's hotter under the water.

YouTube

Yes, animals did move from the sea to the land, bringing us the first mammals. But then, over time, some mammals were like, "nah, it's that ocean life for me." Including some of these fellas.

These creatures first went into the water during the Eocene time period and eventually traded in their arms to become “sleeker and more streamlined,” while still holding onto their teeth.

By now they look less like a wolf and more like a murderous dolphin.

whale evolution, whale science

You're welcome for the nightmare fuel.

YouTube

Cut to roughly 34-36 million years ago, and the species have diversified into the two major whale groups we see today: the Odontoceti (or “toothed whales”), which include sperm whales, orcas and dolphins, and the Mysticeti, better known as baleen whales … you know, those big guys with the filter-like “teeth” (aka baleen) that eat loads and loads of plankton?

The baleen whale’s evolution in particular has scientists a bit baffled, as there is no definitive evidence as to how, when or even why they began filter feeding in the first place. In fact, the first fossil of a mysticetes appeared around 36 million years ago, but baleen doesn’t show up until later, around 11 million years ago. Even the baleen’s oldest ancestor, the Mystacadon, according to the PBS video, showed no signs of baleen when researchers discovered it in 2019.

One theory: The cooled ocean current of the Oligocene epoch brought about an abundance of nutrients—specifically plankton—which made it more advantageous to bulk feed rather than hunt for single prey. This also helps explain the giant boom in different whale species.

Still, it’s all up for debate, and likely will be for a while since ancient baleen is hard to come by. Baleen, unlike teeth, is made of keratin, the same biodegradable substance hair and nails are made out of and, therefore, doesn’t fossilize well.

As the host cleverly quipped, “It’s basically like a big mustache inside the whale's mouth.”

Bottom line: We know a lot about nature, but there is still so much to learn.

If you’d like to find out more—like how the Mystacadon ate its prey by doing a super weird thing called suction feeding—you can check out the full video here:

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

Keep ReadingShow less
AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

AMC announced that it would be implementing a new three-tier ticketing system.

AMC Theaters, America’s largest movie theater chain, announced on Feb 6 that it will be adopting different ticket prices based on seat location.

Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



The company’s announcement was met with both criticism and approval. While some feel the move follows a well-established business model, others have found it to be taking away a valued aspect of the moviegoing experience.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Pexels

A mother puts a fresh diaper on her baby.

Scientists at Penn State University have devised a “smart diaper” that alerts parents when their baby is wet. The diaper is made of paper, treated with sodium chloride (salt) and has a circuit board drawn with a pencil.

When the humidity level rises in the diaper, the graphite and the urine are absorbed by the paper and it turns on a sensor powered by a small lithium battery. The sensor then sets the alarm on an app that parents download onto their phones.

“The hydration sensor is highly sensitive to changes in humidity and provides accurate readings over a wide range of relative humidity levels, from 5.6% to 90%,” the researchers at Penn State said in a statement.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry…"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up for a sweet acoustic version of "What About Us?"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

One song they sang together was Pink's "What About Us?" Pink previously described the song to The Sun in 2017: "The world in general is a really scary place full of beautiful people. Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful—like I said in the song—'billions of beautiful hearts' and there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Saturday Night Live/Youtube

"It's a me."

Pedro Pascal and HBO seem to be a match made in pop culture heaven. His role in the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” shot him to notoriety. He’s currently starring in “Last of Us,” which also boasts a massive viewership.

And now, thanks to one epic “Saturday Night Live” skit, fans are clamoring to see Pascal take on a new role—a brooding, hardened, princess smuggling Mario.

The faux trailer imagines the video game Mario Kart as a quintessential HBO drama. Mario (Pascal) has to use his driving skills to get Princess Peach (played by Chloe Fineman) through an apocalyptic Mushroom Kingdom.
Keep ReadingShow less