Wednesday, August 16, 2006

 

Ancient whale broke all the rules

fossil whale oligocene Janjucetus hunderi (Evolution Research)

ABC Australia: A bizarre whale fossil found on a beach in southern Australia suggests that baleen whales, the filter-feeding gentle giants of the sea, were not always gentle, or giants, a researcher says.

Erich Fitzgerald (homepage), a PhD student of Monash University in Melbourne and a research associate at Museum Victoria, describes the 25 million year old discovery in the latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Abstract).

The fossil, which includes a complete skull of a whale and other bones, was found in the late 1990s by teenage surfer Staumn Hunder, Fitzgerald explains.

'Luckily for science, he saw these dark brown slithers of fossilised bone,' protruding from a boulder on a beach near the town of Jan Juc in coastal Victoria. [Janjucetus hunderi]

The Sydney Morning Herald's article on this topic: "Discovered: Aussie T-rex of the deep" contains a link to a video (directly accessible here)

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