A new fossil find by Canadian paleontologists suggests that millions of years ago, seals had webbed feet and spent most of their time on dry land.
The skeleton, which is almost four feet long, with doglike teeth and a long tail, fills an important hole in the fossil record: It’s the first likely ancestor of pinnipeds (the biological group that includes seals, sea lions, and walruses) that has feet instead of flippers. Because the fossil was found in the remote Arctic, some researchers have begun speculating that pinnipeds may have evolved in the extreme north — and not along the west coast of North America, as previously assumed. Either way, it’s one less missing link in the biological record.
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