A report by National Geographic reveals a whale fossil which was unearthed about three decades ago in New Zealand’s South Canterbury district. The fossil which was unearthed was dated back to about 27 million years old, and the spices were identified as an unknown genus of baleen whale.
The researchers of the University of Otago have analyzed the 27 million years old fossil and said that this fossil of a whale which has not any teeth. The two researchers have researched by arranging the skull and its associated bones in order. The analysis which was done by Professor Ewan Fordyce of the University’s geology department and former PhD student Cheng-Hsiu Tsai revealed the results about the ancient remains of this oldest ancestor.
The skeleton of the Baleen whale which was unearthed in South Canterbury’s rural Hakataramea Valley measured about 16.4 feet in the body. The skull of the whale is about 3.2 feet, and it is added to the total length of the fossil.
The new species was named as Toipahautea Waitaki, which was small with a comparison to today’s baleen whales minke and blue whales. Baleen whales that are a part of the Mysticeti cetacean suborder have baleen plates in the upper jaw which replaces the teeth. These whales deed themselves by swallowing a huge amount of seawater and then with the help of baleens they filter the krill that go inside them along with water.
The authors who studied this fossil explained, “Total loss of teeth in adults, and acquisition of baleen, are two independent major evolutionary events in mysticete evolution; different genes regulate them.” The researchers also said that these creatures had both teeth and baleen plates as they don’t specialize in any particular forms of feeding strategies.