An Australian paleobiologist has made a curious discovery about the origins of baleen whales. Studying the 25-million-year-old fossil of a primitive toothed baleen whale, Mammalodon colliveri, Dr. Erich Fitzgerald hypothesized that the early whale used its tongue and short, blunt snout to suck small prey from sand and mud on the seafloor. Yummy.
Fitzgerald’s work supports Darwin's notion that some of the earliest baleen whales may have been mudsuckers before they were filter-feeders.
And apparently the three-meter-long Mammalodon was actually a dwarf, though its name brings to mind its relative, the blue whale -- the largest animall in the history of the world.
As Dr. Fitzgerald said, “Clearly the seas off southern Australia were a cradle for the evolution of a variety of tiny, weird whales that seem to have lived nowhere else.”
- Holiday Creature Feature: Christmas Tree Worm and Candy Cane Shrimp Posted Fri, December 19, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Morbillivirus Strikes the Florida Keys, New Species of Snailfish Discovered in Mariana Trench, and More Posted Mon, December 22, 2014
- Photos: Christmas Island's Incredible Red Crab Migration is Underway Posted Mon, December 22, 2014
- Video: Drone Captures Amazing Humpback Whale Feeding Event on Camera Posted Thu, December 18, 2014
- Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Ocean Lovers! Posted Wed, December 24, 2014