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Reason and Revelation Volume 28 #2

Whale Evolution: Another Whopper

A December 21, 2007 ScienceDaily article titled, “Whales Descended From Tiny Deer-like Creature,” stated: “Whale evolution is one of the best documented examples of mammal evolution” (2007). Alleged evolutionary ancestors to whales weave their way into textbooks and popular science articles, supposedly supporting the idea that whales originated from lower mammals millions of years ago. Although the incorrect idea of whale evolution has been thoroughly refuted (see Sarfati, 2007), evolutionists continue to lean heavily on it to support their ever-crumbling edifice of Darwinism.

A recent report lays bare much that is wrong with the idea of whale evolution. In the December 2007 issue of Nature, Dr. J. Thewissen and his colleagues claimed to have found the oldest and closest relative of the whale. For many years, the hippopotamus was thought to be the closest whale-relative. But Thewissen and company now propose that whales are more closely related to a creature called Indohyus. Thewissen stated: “We’ve found the closest extinct relative to whales and it is closer than any living relative” (as quoted in Briggs, 2007). He and his co-researchers described this creature as “a small, stocky artiodactyl, roughly the size of the raccoon,” whose closest living look-alike is the African mousedeer (Thewissen, et al., 2007). This deer-like creature supposedly spent much of its time in the water, possibly hiding from predators.

Several issues regarding this “discovery” need to be addressed. First, a commonly accepted idea among evolutionists is that the ancestors of whales lived on land and moved to the water to hunt for fish or other water-living prey. According to the evolutionary interpretation attached to this find, however, that did not occur. Dr. Thewissen stated: “Clearly, this is not the case, Indohyus is a plant-eater, and already is aquatic. Apparently the dietary shift to hunting animals (as modern whales do) came later than the habitat shift to the water” (“Whales Descended...,” 2007, parenthetical item in orig.). Please don’t miss the significance of this dramatic shift. Supposedly, whale evolution is one of the best-documented examples of mammal evolution. And, till now, it has been commonly accepted (among evolutionists) that whales evolved because their land-living ancestors went into the water in search of food. Yet, with the find of one raccoon-sized, deer-like creature (that cannot be proven to be ancestral to whales), the entire idea as to how whale evolution started has been completely overhauled.

Second, the features that supposedly link Indohyus to whales are certainly far from concrete. Helen Briggs wrote: “Although Indohyus, as it is known, looks nothing like the whales of today, it shares certain anatomical features” (2007, emp. added). Notice the admission that the creature looks nothing like a whale. So why is it said to be a close relative to a whale and not to a horse, cow, or moose? Because of certain “anatomical features.” What are those anatomical features? Supposedly, this little creature has skull, ear, and teeth structures similar to whales (Briggs, 2007). Yet, Thewissen and his team admitted that even though whales have some structures similar to Indohyus, other mammals that they admit are unrelated to whales have the same structures. They wrote: “None of these features characterize all modern and extinct cetaceans [whales—KB].... In addition, all of these characters are found in some mammals unrelated to cetaceans” (Thewissen, et al., 2007). So Indohyus shares some traits with whales, but those traits are also found in “some mammals unrelated” to whales. Why, then, connect them to whales and not to the other mammals?

Furthermore, Thewissen and his colleagues focused quite heavily on the teeth of Indohyus, suggesting that they are similar to those of whales. Their conclusions, however, are unconvincing. As one author wrote: “The team attached great importance to the teeth. But Indohyus, they said, was a herbivore, and whales are carnivores; how much about relationships can be inferred from teeth of groups with very different dietary habits and behaviors?” (“How Bambi...,” 2007).

What does Indohyus actually prove? It proves that the alleged closest relative of the whale can change from the hippopotamus to a small deer-like creature in the blink of an eye, based on certain similar structures that it has in common with other mammals besides whales. Furthermore, the path whales took in their alleged evolution can be completely and immediately revamped, overturning years of “scientific” writings, because Indohyus was a herbivore and did not take to the seas to find food. Yet, the fact that its herbivorous teeth are one of the structures that supposedly link it to modern carnivorous whales does not seem to daunt the evolutionists at all. The truth is, there is no evidence that whales evolved at all, much less from Indohyus. The just-so story about Indohyus’ evolutionary history is simply the latest ploy by evolutionists to keep their beloved theory in the international spotlight, regardless of how ridiculous its conclusions.


Briggs, Helen (2007), “Whale ‘Missing Link’ Discovered,” [On-line], URL:

“How Bambi Gave Rise to Moby Dick” (2007), [On-line], URL:

Sarfati, Jonathan (2007), “Whale Evolution?,” Answers in Genesis, [On-line], URL:

Thewissen, J.M., et al. (2007), “Whales Originated from Aquatic Artiodactyls in the Eocene Epoch of India,” Nature, 450:1190-1194, December 20, [On-line], URL:

“Whales Descended from Tiny Deer-like Ancestors” (2007), ScienceDaily, [On-line], URL:

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