Whale evolution through deep time

The evolution of mammals that live in the sea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) are of particular interest because they went from ocean to land and then back to the ocean again. There are many depictions of the first stage but fewer of the second. This animation by artist Jordan Collver shows the second stage of the evolution of the sperm whale, from the amphibious Pakicetus to its present form.

The transitions in the animation are so slow and slight that at first you may think that you are watching a static image. Even though we are seeing the whole process in just over ten minutes, the changes are so subtle that it shows why species seem so permanent and why the theory of evolution is so hard for some people to wrap their minds around. Animations like this make it easier to visualize evolutionary changes in deep time.

If you cannot spare ten minutes, then you can watch a 25-second version here.


  1. grasshopper says

    I don’t believe it. I bet it was photo-shopped.
    Were you there?
    Darwinists can’t tell us the purpose of a porpoise, nor even what the turtle tortoise. (<-- More pun fun!!)

  2. says

    It’s so interesting to even think about “deep time” -- we’re not even a little flicker at that scale. Basically, it’s either: species is dead, or post-human. Either way, humanity, which seems to be such a long-term proposition to us, is gone in a blink.

  3. polishsalami says

    “we’re not even a little flicker at that scale”
    Mark Twain:

    Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. I dunno. If the Eiffel tower were now representing the world’s age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man’s share of that age; & anybody would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would. I dunno.

  4. Heidi Nemeth says

    My brother, Chris Stock, has had a long fascination with evolution, particularly cetacean evolution. He wrote me: The [videos] are fascinating, [but] flawed. Sperm whales have no teeth in their upper jaw. Much more importantly, sperm whale blow holes are NOT above their eyes, but at the tip of the snout, where they serve an important function in sonar locating of squid at great depths. And this video pretends that evolution works linearly – not in the fits and starts of punctuated equilibrium and false starts. But still I love that somebody took the time to make the video.

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