Philip D. Gingerich

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Philip Gingerich is an evolutionary paleontologist, biologist, and anthropologist. He is professor of anthropology, biology, and geology at the University of Michigan, and also director of University of Michigan's Museum of Paleontology.[1]

Gingerich is most known for his research on the evolution of the whale and the evolution of primates. He was one of the scientists who worked on the Darwinius masillae ("Ida") fossil, and he believes that "Ida" is transitional form between anthropoid (more human-like) primates and more primitive primates.

Work on evolution of the whale

In the 1980s, Gingerich authored a paper on the fossil Pakicetus, which he thought was a transitional between hoofed animals and whales. Based on only on a partial skull, Gingerich made a reconstruction of Pakicetus showing it swimming in the sea.[2] Much later a nearly complete skeleton of Pakicetus was unearthed, revealing that the creature was a four-legged land mammal. Its only whale-like feature is a whale-like inner ear.

Gingerich has studied several other claimed transitional fossils relevant to whale evolution.