Whale fossil reveals location of man's first upright steps

March 17, 2015 4:32 PM

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Whale fossil reveals location of man's first upright steps

Though the beaked whale fossil in question is only just now making headlines, it was first discovered in Kenya in 1964. It was unearthed some 460 miles inland, suggesting the sea mammal had gotten lost and swam up a freshwater river system. But the 17-million-year-old fossil was originally misidentified as a turtle, and little analysis was conducted before it went missing.

It stayed lost in the archives of Harvard University for nearly 40 years, before Louis Jacobs -- who knew of its existence but for years failed to locate the fossil -- finally found the skull.

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