When Whales Could Walk

Some Darwin drama from PBS NOVA.

Watch “When Whales Could Walk”

Stream “When Whales Could Walk” for free on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5rxaBv9_IU


  • My Rating: 96/100
  • IMDB Rating: 8.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: na

Review of “When Whales Could Walk”

Well dip me in brine and call me Ishmael.

It turns out the giant fishies we once turned into lamp oil had themselves a past that didn’t just involve lazin’ about and spoutin’ steam from their blowholes.

Shocking but true: Whales used to walk!

I’m not yanking your anchor chain here.

We’re talking whales with real limbs and everything, roaming the Sahara of all places back when it was still a beachfront oasis.

I’m learning this from some fossil-hunting brainiacs on this “NOVA” show.

These science hipsters are traipsing around modern day Egypt, 100 clicks out in the desert from Cairo, digging up remnants of these old mammalian maritime nomads.

We’re talking beasts like the Basilosaurus – first discovered back in 1902 but too gye-normous to make any sense of.

Now thanks to modern tech like CT body scans (for examining fossils, you jokers), turns out Basi and his kin were ancestors of today’s big bufos of the briny deep.

Four sturdy flippers, check. Pelvic bone for childbearin’, check. Genes for color vision just like their landlubbing relatives, checkity-check. Whale of a tale indeed!

Now you’re maybe wondering, as I did while housing my third salty snack ration, how did these sunkist sauropods make the change from sandstorming Saharan beach bums to open ocean rollers?

Well buckle in, Ishmael.

The answers unfold in some true Darwinian drama I ain’t got space to spout here. Let’s just say nature wasn’t always a walk in the water park for these chonkers.

But 40 million years later you can still find their giant grills littering Egypt’s Valley of the Whales, as untold a story as any pharaoh crypt til now. Blow me down!

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac, Daily Doc