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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fossil Find Shines Light on an Ancient Whale

A fossil find in Victoria, Australia, throws light on the origin of baleen whales. The artifact is 25 million years old. It is the 45 cm long skull of Mammalodon colliveri. Information about it has remained open since its discovery in 1932.

Though it had teeth it spent its time sucking mud in the search for prey on the seafloor. A short, blunt snout made this possible. This type of feeding led to the filter method of modern whales. The baleen whale was only three meters long, a far cry from the monsters that followed. Its ancestors though were also very large.

Other fossils have been found in Torquay, Victoria, notably Janjucetus hunderi which was unique to the area. This region is believed to be the cradle of tiny whales. Some form of isolation must have occurred for this to happen.
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Paleontology
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