Zygorhiza kochii was an early whale that roamed the ocean almost 40 million years ago. This basilosaurid had a long narrow body and a long skull on a short neck. It had large multi-cusped teeth and long incisors for tearing prey like fish or squid.
Zygorhiza kochii means the "yoke root" whale. Although it is assumed it spent its life in the water, Zygorhiza's body had still not completely adapted to the sleek-looking and moving bodies of whales today as its elbows were still able to be flexed. In today's whales, this elbow joint is fused together. Because of its unusual limbs, some have proposed Zygorhiza would be able to walk on land or even go ashore to mate and raise its offspring, but this suggestion is highly debuted.
Zygorhiza was a smaller predator spanning roughly 20 feet that ate fish and smaller animals. But it was probably prey to larger whales and sharks like Carcharocles angustidens--the ancestor to the great megalodon.
Zygorhiza kochii (basilosaurid)
Priabonian (Upper Eocene)
Dakhia, W. Morocco
Size: 4.5 x 1.5 x .94 inches
Weight: 3.25 oz.