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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:

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Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.

Founded in 2018, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.

“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city's chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.

Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. They also have book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.

NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Liza handles all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.

“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.

Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group's Friendsgiving event.

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Education

3,700-year-old Babylonian stone tablet gets translated, changes history

They were doing trigonometry 1500 years before the Greeks.

via UNSW

Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.

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Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Van Gogh’s Starry Night.



Van Gough never got to enjoy his own historic success as an artist (even though we've been able to imagine what that moment might have looked like). But it turns out that those of us who have appreciated his work have been missing out on some critical details for more than 100 years.

I'm not easily impressed, OK?

I know Van Gogh was a genius. If the point of this were "Van Gogh was a mad genius," I would not be sharing this with you.
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Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo. Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.

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Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Women do better when they have female friends.

Madeleine Albright once said, "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." It turns out that might actually be a hell on Earth, because women just do better when they have other women to rely on, and there's research that backs it up.

A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that women who have a strong circle of friends are more likely to get executive positions with higher pay. "Women who were in the top quartile of centrality and had a female-dominated inner circle of 1-3 women landed leadership positions that were 2.5 times higher in authority and pay than those of their female peers lacking this combination," Brian Uzzi writes in the Harvard Business Review.

Part of the reason why women with strong women backing them up are more successful is because they can turn to their tribe for advice. Women have to face different challenges than men, such as unconscious bias, and being able to turn to other women who have had similar experiences can help you navigate a difficult situation. It's like having a road map for your goals.

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via Pexels

Millennials are now old enough to seriously reflect on life.

It seems like only yesterday a millennial was a college kid that baby boomers chided for being entitled and Gen Xers thought were way too sincere and needed to learn how to take a joke. Today, the oldest millennials, those born around 1980, have hit their 40s and have lived long enough to have some serious regrets.

They also have enough experience to take some pride in decisions that, in hindsight, were the right moves.

The good news is that at 40 there is still plenty of time to learn from our successes and failures to set ourselves up for a great second half of life. These lessons are also valuable to the Gen Zers coming up who can avoid the pitfalls of the older generation.

A Reddit user who has since deleted their profile asked millennials nearing 40 “what were your biggest mistakes at this point in life?” and they received more than 2,200 responses. The biggest regrets these millennials have are being flippant about their health and not saving enough money when they were younger.

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A woman giving a stern warning.

Over the past few years, women named Karen have taken a lot of heat in the media. The term "Karen" has been used to describe a specific type of entitled, privileged and often middle-aged white woman. Typically, "Karen” is depicted as demanding, self-important and constantly seeking to escalate minor inconveniences to authority figures, like demanding to "speak to the manager."

Identifying the folks who create unnecessary drama in our world is important. But calling them a “Karen” isn’t the best way to solve the problem. There are many reasons to have an issue with the “Karen” stereotype. First, it’s terrible for people named Karen, and it’s also a connotation that many feel is racist, sexist and ageist.

Further, according to a new study by Trustpilot, the stereotype isn’t accurate. A recent survey by the online media site found that the people who leave the most one-star reviews aren’t female, and the women who do it the most aren’t named Karen.

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