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Last Updated: Monday November 06 2006 12:59 GMT

Dolphin with extra flippers found

Dolphin's extra set of fins - near its tail
A bottlenose dolphin with an extra set of flippers has been discovered swimming in the sea off Japan.

Fishermen netted the creature and were shocked to spot its extra limbs.

The second set of flippers, which are near the creature's tail, are about the size of a pair of human hands and much less powerful than the front set.

Experts say this discovery supports the idea that dolphins used to live on land - as the tiny flippers could be the remains of its back legs!

On the move

A baby dolphin
The dolphin, which is 2.72m long and about five years old, has been taken to the Taiji Whale Museum in Japan where it will be studied by scientists.

Ancient fossils suggest that 50 million years ago dolphins and whales were four-footed land animals sharing the same ancestors as the hippopotamus and deer.

It's thought the creatures started living in the sea and over millions of years their back legs disappeared.

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