Species & Kind - How many KINDS are in Whale Evolution?

You are still talking about the dolphin story.

The dolphin story is not the story used by scientists to bring up the topic of limb-like structures embedded in the body of cetaecians … and NOT visible to anyone while the creature is alive.

dolphin and whale have the same evolutionery story. so its actually the same.

Dolphins and Whales have a similar evolution of the PELVIC bones.

Some whale fossils have additional bones, that appear to be analagous to rear leg bones.

See page 48 of the book Whales of the World … by Spencer Wilkie Tinker.


again-the function doesnt have any conection to legs but to fins. as we can see from the front limbs. also notice that the pelvis of male and female whales are different. and now we know that it even have a function other then swiming:


If the bones are shaped like fins … so be it. But if they are shaped like legs… you are just distorting the reportage. Find an article about “so-called” leg bones in Whales that say they look like FIN bones instead. Then we can discuss it.

Otherwise, you are just intentionally throwing dust into the air.

@dcsccccc - I misremembered the scope of the atavistic legs; they are only present in whales, not dolphins.

First, let’s take a look at the evidence for atavistic legs (not fins) in whales. I will be quoting several reports; follow the links, and you will see photographs/figures.

First example:

In 1958 we examined a male Sperm Whale 11.6 meters long caught in the Bering Sea, with unusual protrusions in the pelvic region and along the sides of the genital fold (see Figure #1) with a total length of 28 and 34 centimeters, pigmented like the rest of the body. The section of the left protrusion that extended from the body had the appearance of the rounded blade of a propeller, while the right one looked like a fin with finger-shaped processes. The bones were enclosed in dense connective tissue. Judging from an X-ray photograph (see Figure #2) of the skeleton of the protrusions in this specimen, the section of the protrusions that lay inside the body corresponded to the femur, and the middle section to the tibia and the fibula. The section of the protrusions that extended from the body corresponded to the step of the hind limb, and the elements composing it are probably phalanges of the digits. According to the number of phalanges visible in the X-ray photograph, these are the fifth and fourth digits.

Second example:

This particular whale was a female Humpback of the average length with elementary legs protruding from the body about 4 feet 2 inches, covered with blubber about one-half an inch thick. As shown in the best photograph these legs protruded on either side of the genital opening…

Third example:

Female Sperm Whale caught by Japanese whaling operation, Nov. 8th, 1956, “protuberances on both sides of the genital opening. … The height of the protuberance was 5.35 centimeters on the right side, 6.56 centimeters on the left side.” (SEE PHOTOS OF THE PROTRUSIONS FROM SIX DIFFERENT ANGLES, Fig. 5)
“Upon examining the interior of the left limb three partially cartilaginous bones were found. They correspond to pelvis, femur, and possibly to tibia, but no joints exist between them. Pretty strong muscles connect between femur and tibia. The tibia is 13 centimeters long for the greater part cartilaginous, and only partly ossified stick-like body with its distal end inserted into the skin of the hind-limb protuberance.

Not being an expert in cetacean biology, I am unable to tell you which regulatory gene(s) behave(s)abnormally to cause these atavisms.

Moreover, consider this additional evidence: in certain species of whales, vestigial leg bones lie unused beneath the skin.

"Nothing can be imagined more useless to the animal than rudiments of hind legs entirely buried beneath the skin of a whale, so that one is inclined to suspect that these structures must admit of some other interpretation. Yet, approaching the inquiry with the most skeptical determination, one cannot help being convinced, as the dissection goes on, that these rudiments [in the Right Whale] really are femur and tibia. The synovial capsule representing the knee-joint was too evident to be overlooked. An acetabular cartilage, synovial cavity, and head of femur, together represent the hip-joint…

You ask why would dolphins have atavistic fins while certain species of whales have atavistic legs… It’s important to remember that there is a lot of variation over time across large populations. It would make sense to me that some cetaceans (dolphin ancestors) would have experienced an evolution toward small hind fins while others (right whale ancestors) did not. Eventually, the hind fins did not provide enough function to justify the hydrodynamic drag, so they disappeared among the population that gave rise to the dolphins.

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So the question is back on: why would whales have vestigial, non-coding DNA for legs present in their genome?

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the front limb look like hand. but its a complete fin. so even if its look like leg it isnt a leg.

You crack me up, D!

We aren’t talking about dolphins. And we aren’t talking about malformed fins.

We are talking about those modern whales which, without having ANY KIND of malformation at all … have LEG BONES within their body, which cannot be seen by ANYONE (except God).

And these leg bones are consistent with extinct varieties of whale mammals that actually HAD fully formed, or partly formed, legs (or shall we call them rear limbs.


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hi again chris.

but wait. i show its wrong actually:

  1. take a look at this basilosaurus image (see how much it

s look like yours images):


" However, there had been numerous suggestions that these small hind “legs” were used to aid copulation by locking their long, narrow bodies"

now see this image:

even according to evolutionists those are flippers and not legs. as you can see from the restoration.

again- where is your reference?

hi dcs,

First, I note that you have not addressed my chief point, namely that the (rare) appearance of atavistic legs in some species of whales provides strong evidence for the continuing existence of unused genetic code for legs, which in turn provides strong evidence for evolution. I want to give you another opportunity to address that point.

[quote=“dcscccc, post:18, topic:4419”]
Chris: "Nothing can be imagined more useless to the animal than rudiments of hind legs entirely buried beneath the skin of a whale

dcs: but wait. i show its wrong actually:

You are very, very confused, my friend dcs. I’m talking about vestigial femurs and tibias, and then you present evidence for the usefulness of something else altogether, the pelvic girdle. Let me make it as clear as I can:

  1. You are correct that the structure of the pelvis continues to play a useful role in whale anatomy.
  2. You have not begun to address the strong evidence for evolution provided by vestigial femurs and tibias in some modern whales.

I am astonished that you would think that this supports your case, my friend dcs. The basilosaurus, which lived 40M years ago, was (perhaps) able to make use of the legs which were much smaller than those of its ancestors. Modern whales don’t have such legs, so the functionality of legs in a species that lived 40M years ago aren’t germane to today’s topic. You could go back even further, say 60M years, and state that the legs of the common ancestor of whales and hippos were very useful. Yep, I would agree–it lived on the land, and legs are useful on land. Doesn’t help your case.

Evolution has continued to operate over these past 40M years, and whatever function hind limbs might have provided to the basilosaurus was not enough to overcome the pressure of natural selection towards a more hydrodynamic design.

Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Sean Carroll, a biologist at the University of Wisconsin. Great book, you’d really enjoy it, dcs.

ok. chris. see this image (in the end) of the basilosaurus hind limbs:


you can see that basilosaurus did have a femur and tibia. but it was a fin and not a leg. so the same for the whale.

What the ? @DCSCCC ?!

If you go back into the fossil whale record … you will see whales and proto-whales with all sorts of combinations of limbs … This is because mammals had 4 limbs… and it can sometimes take more than millions of years to genetically lose something you don’t need.

The point that was raised in this thread is that some MODERN WHALES have under-developed femurs that are completely buried in their tissues … so they don’t exist for swimming or mating or anything. They are just laying their dormant … because there was a time in whale gene pools when they NEEDED their rear limbs.

The existence of a pair of small pelvic bones is known to exist in nearly all of the Cetacea, lying far apart from the vertebral column on both sides of the genital opening.

However, in the Fin Whale, the Blue Whale, and the Humpback, the femur too is present near the pelvis. [Even in the Sperm Whale the femur is sometimes present (in the form of a small round-shaped bone near the pelvis). - E.T.B.]

And in the Right Whale not only the femur but also the tibia exists. Of course these bones are buried deeply under the skin, causing no protuberance on the body surface."

[Quote from Ogawa, R., and Kamiya, T. A. (1957) “Case of the Cachalot [Sperm Whale] With Protruded Rudimentary Hind Limbs.” Scientific Reports of the Whales Research Insititute, No. 12, p. 197-208.]


Hind Limb Rudiments on Modern Whales Example Five

“Nothing can be imagined more useless to the animal than rudiments of hind legs entirely buried beneath the skin of a whale, so that one is inclined to suspect that these structures must admit of some other interpretation. Yet, approaching the inquiry with the most skeptical determination, one cannot help being convinced, as the dissection goes on, that these rudiments [in the Right Whale] really are femur and tibia.”

“The synovial capsule representing the knee-joint was too evident to be overlooked. An acetabular cartilage, synovial cavity, and head of femur, together represent the hip-joint. Attached to this femur is an apparatus of constant and strong ligaments, permitting and restraining movements in certain directions; and muscles are present, some passing to the femur from distant parts, some proceeding immediately from the pelvic bone to the femur, by which movements of the thigh-bone are performed; and these ligaments and muscles present abundant instances of exact and interesting adaptation. But the movements of the femur are extremely limited, and in two of these whales the hip-joint as firmly anchylosed, in one of them on one side, in the other on both sides, without trace of disease, showing that these movements may be dispensed with. The function point of view fails to account for the presence of a femur in addition to processes from the pelvic bone. Altogether, these hind legs in this whale present for contemplation a most interesting instance of those significant parts in an animal – rudimentary structures.” [Struthers, p. 142-143]

[Struthers, John, M.D., Professor of Anatomy in the University of Aberdeen. (1881) “On the Bones, Articulations, and Muscles of The Rudimentary Hind-Limb of the Greenland Right-Whale (Balaena mysticetus).”]

Hi dcs -

In spite of all the evidence of femur and tibia bones that I and George have cited and provided links for, you somehow seem to think that an artist’s depiction of basilosaurus should allow you to ignore that evidence. Really? I’m feeling discouraged, like maybe somehow I’m such a poor writer that I have failed to communicate clearly. Or is the communication failure on your side? Maybe you are too busy to consider our evidence? I would understand that, I am pretty busy at times, too. But if you are too busy to examine the evidence we cite, how is it that you have the time to respond in the thread? Or maybe you’re distracted by the vicissitudes of life? ???

Regardless, before you do anything else, please read the eyewitness observations of leg bones that I wrote about here. Please read the George’s evidence of vestigial, visually hidden whale leg bones here.

Have a blessed day.

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter

After a good night’s rest, my friend dcs, I think I’ve identified the source of confusion. You seem to be believe that paleontologists should build their analysis of morphology on the imaginative renditions of artists, rather than the actual fossil bones.

This is of course not how scientists do their work. Scientists analyze the fossils, not the art… Then artists have the task of imaginatively depicting the result. The art is useful for science learners, because (when it’s accurate) a picture is worth 1000 words.

In the case of the Basilosaurus artistic renditions you keep appealing to, it seems the artists have done a poor job of rendering the hind limbs. So let’s do a little scientific analysis here by comparing Basilosaurus hind limb fossils with predecessor fossils and then with the skeletons of modern right whale vestigial hind limb bones. We’ll array them from earliest to latest and see if Basilosaurus hind limbs are in an evolutionary sequence. We’ll start with the Pakicetus hind limbs as photographed by Kevin Guertin from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - DSCF1201, CC BY-SA 2.0. Pakicetus lived 60 mya.

Now Basilosaurus (40 mya) from the same source that provided one of your artistic renditions:

For scale and clarity, here’s another basilosaurus image:

Now the modern right whale:

I should add that basilosaurus is not thought to be directly on the cetacean lineage; it seems like an evolutionary dead end. A late Eocene contemporary like dorudon is closer to the evolutionary lineage. But basilosaurus is close enough for us to draw the conclusion that it is part of the family tree that leads to modern whales.

dear chris and george.

your argument was that femur and tibia are evidence for leg. so i showed clearly that it isnt true and those structure can be seen in fins. case close.

not even according to evolutionary whale expert Philip Gingerich:


‘It seems to me that they could only have been some kind of sexual and reproductive clasper."

again- not legs but a part of the reproduction system. add to this the fact that in rare cases dolphins have an extra back fins in the same place of those “legs” and you will get the right picture.


So let me get this straight … you are saying that modern whales that have an internal bone structure is NOT an evolutonary remnant from when these mammals had rear legs? And that …

you say that some Modern Whales RETAIN a hidden bone structure that is left over from evolution from whales who used to have a FIN in that location …

EITHER WAY, DCS, that’s evolution…this is the NORMAL state of these modern whales in question … this is not some rare aberration.

its not evolution but degeneration. the whale lost its back fins.

So you agree that modern whales have ancestors who possessed legs, but over time those legs were lost. Interesting. And exactly what George and I have been saying, by the way.

not legs but fins.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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