Antarctic whale fossil discovery


This video is about cetacean evolution.

From Associated Press:

Ancient Whale Jawbone Found in Antarctica

By MICHAEL WARREN

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina October 12, 2011

The jawbone of an ancient whale found in Antarctica may be the oldest fully aquatic whale yet discovered, Argentine scientists said Tuesday.

A scientist not involved in the find said it could suggest that whales evolved much more quickly from their amphibian

“amphibian” in the sense of able to live both in water and on land, not in the sense of the animal class Amphibia which includes frogs, salamanders, etc.

precursors than previously thought.

Argentine paleontologist Marcelo Reguero, who led a joint Argentine-Swedish team, said the fossilized archaeocete jawbone found in February dates back 49 million years. In evolutionary terms, that’s not far off from the fossils of even older proto-whales from 53 million years ago that have been found in South Asia and other warmer latitudes.

Those earlier proto-whales were amphibians, able to live on land as well as sea. This jawbone, in contrast, belongs to the Basilosauridae group of fully aquatic whales, said Reguero, who leads research for the Argentine Antarctic Institute.

“The relevance of this discovery is that it’s the oldest known completely aquatic whale found yet,” said Reguero, who shared the discovery with Argentine paleontologist Claudia Tambussi and Swedish paleontologists Thomas Mors and Jonas Hagstrom of the Natural History Museum in Stockholm.

Paul Sereno, a University of Chicago paleontologist who wasn’t involved in the research, said that if the new find withstands the scrutiny of other scientists, it will suggest that archaeocetes evolved much more quickly than previously thought from their semi-aquatic origin in present-day India and Pakistan.

“The important thing is the location,” Sereno said. “To find one in Antarctica is very interesting.”

Up, Up, and Away: Research Balloons Take to Antarctica’s Skies: here.

7 thoughts on “Antarctic whale fossil discovery

  1. Pingback: Narwhal, beluga whale ancestor discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Rain postpones fossil study

    Posted: Oct 04, 2012 9:34 PM Updated: Oct 04, 2012 10:00 PM

    By Jim Wallace

    ALBANY, GA (WALB) –

    The next planned excavation of on a 35-million year old whale fossil along the Flint River has been postponed because of high water levels.

    A team of Georgia Southern University professors and students planned to return to the Flint River this weekend, but the drawdown of Lake Chehaw raised the level of the River over the fossil. Local experts say the fossilized whale backbone has impressive historical significance.

    “That knowledge of it. The work going on. And having a group that is an expert in that field, in excavation of that, brings a little bit of notoriety and significance to our area,” said Thronateeska Heritage Museum Exec. Director Tommy Gregors.

    The Georgia Southern team excavated part of the whale last month. They’re not sure when they’ll return to continue the work.

    Copyright 2012 WALB.

    http://www.walb.com/story/19737955/rain-postpones-fossil-study

    Like

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  5. Pingback: Baleen whales’ ancestry, new study | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Baleen whale evolution, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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