A new book journeys through cetaceans’ past, present and future
Spying on Whales
Just before humans evolved, whales and dolphins were, pound for pound, the brainiest creatures on Earth. Another cetacean superlative: Today’s biggest whales are heftier than the largest dinosaurs that ever lived. The evolutionary trends that produced big, brainy marine animals are just a few of the fascinating tales told in Spying on Whales.
Paleontologist Nick Pyenson studies whale fossils, but he’s also been known to cut up a few modern-day carcasses. As laid out in his new science-book-cum-midcareer-memoir, the anatomical info gained from both endeavors provides strong evidence for evolution in action. That process has transformed cetaceans’ dog-sized, four-legged ancestors, which