Scientists are at it again, claiming that a diving deer is descended from Whales.
Origins of whales
Meijaard, Wijeyeratne and Umilaela, who saw the submerged Bornean mouse-deer, describe both incidents in the journal Mammalian Biology.
"This is the first time that this behaviour has been described for Asian mouse-deer species," says Meijaard. "I was very excited when I heard the mouse-deer stories because it resolved one of those mysteries that local people had told me about but that had remained hidden to science."
"The behaviour is interesting because it is unexpected. Deer are supposed to walk on land and graze not swim underwater. But more interestingly for the zoologist are the evolutionary implications," he says.
The behaviour bolsters one leading theory regarding the origin of whales.
In 2007, scientists led by Hans Thewissen of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine in Ohio published details of a remarkable fossil called Indohyus.
This fossil was of a ruminant animal that looked like a small deer, but also had morphological features that showed it could be an ancestor of early whales.
Greater mouse-deer (Tragulus napu) caught from the water
A mouse-deer in Borneo caught having spent 60 minutes trying to hide underwater
Although speculative, that suggests that all early ruminants may also have led a partially aquatic lifestyle.
The discovery that two Asian species of mouse-deer are comfortable underwater shows that at least three species of modern tragulid share an aquatic escape behaviour.
Because these species diverged at least 35 million years ago, their ancestor also likely behaved in the same way, again bolstering the the idea that a deer-like ruminant may have evolved to produce the modern cetacean group of whales and dolphins.
Hippos, the closest modern relative of whales, also dive for water when threatened, a behaviour that may have been lost over time by other modern species such as sheep and antelope.
It will be too late when they find out the Origins of every species was created from God.
BBC - Earth News - Aquatic deer and ancient whales