Sunday, November 05, 2006
Japanese scientists are studying a captured dolphin with a unique anomaly - it has four flippers. The animal has a second, small pair where hind legs might be expected in a land mammal. Seiji Osumi of the Institute of Cetacean Research said, "I believe the fins may be remains from the time when dolphins' ancient ancestors lived on land ... this is an unprecedented discovery." Vestigial hind legs or unformed protrusions have, in very rare cases, been found on other cetaceans, but this is the first case of well-formed, functional flippers.