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The Case for
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brain. Research in the skeletal structure of
cetaceans shows vestiges of toes (fingers?)
and dew claws (thumbs?) that eventually
evolved into powerful flippers and tails.
This discovery has caused scientists to
believe that dolphins and whales could
have once lived on land.
Lisa Tenzin-Dolma relates in her
book, Swimming with Dolphins: "About
65 million years ago, a species of mammal
returned to the seas in search of food.
Over the next 15 million years, as their diet
and feeding methods altered, their entire
bodily structure became re-organised,
enabling them to live comfortably and
efficiently within their new environment.
Their nostrils were exchanged for
blowholes and the front limbs developed
into flippers while the back limbs were
replaced with strong tail flukes. These
creatures were the early cetaceans. When
one considers that dolphins were once like
us, land-living mammals, their adaptation
to life in the realms of water is truly
But it doesn't end there. Consider
also, when comparing humans with
dolphins and apes, humans have never
been covered with a coat of fur. Neither
have dolphins. But apes have always been
furred. And there is a fatty layer beneath
the skin of all humans that makes us
different from the apes. This same fatty
layer is found in all dolphins and whales.
There is no pelvic cavity in apes and
the baby's head is smaller than the mother
ape's skeleton, which makes birthing easy.
Human birth is quite different and painful.
A human baby advances through the birth
canal in a spiral motion in order to come
out. Dolphin babies also spiral out along
a birth canal.
Apes give birth alone and do not
require help from another. They also eat
the placenta. Human birth often requires
help from at least one other human
and human mothers do not eat the
placenta. Dolphin births always require
an experienced female midwife dolphin
to be in attendance to help with the birth
and dolphin mothers, like their human
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counterparts, do not eat the placenta.
In an upright or horizontal position,
the spine of the dolphin or whale is
aligned with the hind limbs, just as it is in
humans. This is not so with apes.
And recently, researchers at Texas
University have discovered that 13 of 22
chromosomes present in dolphins are
exactly the same as human chromosomes.
Of the remaining nine chromosomes, many
were combinations or re-arrangements
of their human counterparts.
So far, scientists are applying their
new evidence to the theory that cetaceans
once lived on land. But what if somewhere
along the evolutionary line there occurred
a freak of nature -- a mutation in the form of
half dolphin/ half human? Freaks of nature
occur all the time. We have two headed
calves and humans born with webbed
feet. We clone sheep. Tragically, we have
conjoined "Siamese" twins. Thousands of
animals, birds and insects that once thrived
on this earth no longer exist. They are
extinct. Yet, due to the discovery of DNA
and cloning, there is now the possibility
of bringing some of them back to life
In an attempt to find a northern passage
to the East Indies, Henry Hudson's log
reported on June 15 1608 that two of his
company, Thomas Hill and Robert Raynor,
reported the sighting of a mermaid:
" From the navill upward, her back and
breasts were like a woman's...her skin was
very white. And long haire hanging down
behinde, of colour blacke. In her going
downe they saw her tayle, which was like
the tayle of a porposse and speckled like a
A schoolmaster of Thurso in Caithness,
William Munro, wrote in a report in The
Times, on September 8, 1809, that 12
years earlier he had been walking along
Sandyside Bay shore when he saw what he
first thought was a naked woman sitting
on a rock. The face was plump, with ruddy
cheeks and blue eyes. After a few minutes,
it dropped into the sea and swam away.
Others had seen it, too.
Munro's lengthy letter read:
"It may be necessary to remark that
previous to the period I beheld this object,
I had heard it frequently reported by
several persons, and some of them persons
whose veracity I have never disputed, that
they had seen such a phenomenon as I
have described, though then, like many
other, I was not disposed to credit their
testimony on the subject. I can say of a
truth, that it was only by seeing this
phenomenon I was perfectly convinced
of its existence. If the above narrative
can in any degree be subservient
towards establishing the existence of a
phenomenon hitherto almost incredible
Humans closer to dolphins than apes? Recent findings pose
the question, 'Were mermaids real?' Story by Jo Buchanan.
Cetaceans and humans have
had an affinity since earliest
times. Dolphins appear in cave
paintings which date as far
back as 2,200 BC. The Greeks gave them
mystical status in their legends, believing
they once had human form and the
Romans stamped their likeness on coins.
The mythical King Neptune was believed
to be half human/half dolphin.
Mounting scientific evidence reveals
that humans are more closely related to
dolphins than apes, which places a big
question mark over Darwin's evolutionary
theory. According to recent discoveries,
the cetacean brain is almost identical to
the human brain, whereas the brain of an
ape is very different from the brain of a
human. Among the apes the increase in
brain size has been steady and adaptive.
Yet the development of the human brain
does not follow this trend at all. It takes
unprecedented leaps forward, to an extent
only shared by dolphins. The human brain
has become completely different from the
brain of apes.
But the similarities between humans
and dolphins are not restricted to the
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