Artist impression of Pakicetus inachus Image attribution: Nobu Tamura ( CC BY 3.0

Artist impression of Pakicetus inachus
Image attribution: Nobu Tamura ( CC BY 3.0

Pakicetus was a land mammal and is usually thought to be the ancestor of whales. However, “All the postcranial bones indicate that pakicetids were land mammals, and … indicate that the animals were runners, with only their feet touching the ground.”[1] The hearing mechanism is that of a land animal and it was found in a region containing fossils of terrestrial creatures. Pakicetus has only few similarities to whales. The author of an article which appeared in National Geographic explains these similarities:

“Subtle clues in combination — the arrangement of cups on the molar teeth, a folding in a bone of the middle ear, and the positioning of the ear bones within the skull — are absent in other land mammals but a signature of later Eocene whales.”[2]

These minor similarities are not enough to classify Pakicetus as aquatic, much less ancestor to whales. Only with imagination, can evolutionists believe that Pakicetus was ancestral to whales. It must also be noted that anatomical similarities do not always indicate common descent. The mole has a bird-like sternum and wrist bones,[3] but it would be absurd to conclude that birds evolved from moles! Many more examples can be found in our article, Similarities and Homology: No Evidence For Evolution!

Some scientists, such as those reported by Mchedlidze, do not consider these similarities convincing at all, and they classify pakicetids as a completely isolated group that have nothing in common with typical whales.[4]

At best, Pakicetus is only a starting point for whale evolution, and not evidence for it.


  1. Muizon, C. de, “Walking with whales,” Nature 413:259–260, 20 September 2001. Back to text
  2. Anonymous, “Evolution of Whales,” National Geographic, November 2001, p. 68. Back to text
  3. R. Monastersky, “A clawed wonder unearthed in Mongolia,” Science News 143(16):245, 1993. Back to text
  4. G. A. Mchedlidze, General Features of the Paleobiological Evolution of Cetacea, trans. from Russian (Rotterdam: A.A. Balkema, 1986, p. 91. Back to text
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