RodhocetusA fossil of a creature called Rodhocetus, mammal that lived in the sea and now extinct, is portrayed as the first creature with legs changing into flippers and with the tail developing into a whale’s tail. Without it there is really no story, but recent disclosures undo the tale.
Two species were identified ( Rhodocetus kasrani in 1978 by paleontologist Gingerich. Rhodocetus balochensis by Philip Gingerich in 2001.
The date set for the Rhodocetus is about 49 - 39 million years ago, in the middle Eocene
Dr Gingerich, who found the fossil, promoted the idea that Rodhocetus had a whale’s tail.
Carl Werner noted that the part that would show the presence of the flukes (the rear wings) is missing. He asked about the missing tail bones and how they knew it had tail flukes. Dr Gingerich replied,
"I speculated that it might have had a fluke, I now doubt that Rodhocetus would have had a fluked tail."
Pelvis, hind limb, and the vertebrae Rodhocetus sp. on Field Museum of Natural History.
Dr Werner noted on inspecting the fossil of Rodhocetus the absence of any flipper bones. When he asked Dr Gingerich how he knew that the animal had flippers, Dr Gingerich said,
“Since then we have found the forelimbs, the hands, and the front arms of Rodhocetus, and we understand that it doesn’t have the kind of arms that can spread out like flippers on a whale.”