The research team named the whale species “Tutcetus rayanensis” after the name of King Tutankhamun of Egypt and the Wadi El-Rayan Conservation Area where the fossil was found.
Tutcetus, which is estimated to be 2.5 meters long and weighing about 187 kilograms, is thought to be the smallest whale species detected since the whales began to live completely in water.
Hesham Sallam of the American University in Cairo, who led the research, said the research is a discovery that fully documents the early stages of the transition to marine life.
Sallam pointed out that the first whales to live completely in the sea, their bodies were developed in accordance with the water current, they had a strong tail and tail fin, and they were the last species to have hind legs that could be defined as legs. These legs were probably used for mating, not walking, Sallam said.
Fayum Oasis in the Western Desert, where the discovery was made, is located 150 kilometers southwest of Cairo and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The oasis, which is home to hundreds of whale fossils, is thought to lie at the bottom of a tropical sea that covered the region during the Eocene period between 34 and 56 million years ago.